Objective: Dementia prevalence in Latin America is becoming a significant public health problem, especially in the Caribbean. Family history of dementia (FHD) is a risk factor for dementia and appears to be associated with poorer neuropsycho- logical test performance among non-demented individuals. The purpose of this preliminary study was to examine the relationship between FHD and test perfor- mance among cognitively healthy Puerto Ricans.
Method: Fifty Spanish-speakers (age 55-74 years) were administered an on- line version of the CERAD battery and were divided among two groups based on self-reported FHD. A Principal Component Analysis generated five factors: non-contextual memory, phonemic fluency, contextual memory, semantic and recognition memory, and working memory, accounting for 73.82% of the overall variance in the 16 original variables.
Results: Multivariate analysis of covariance showed a main effect of FHD on the combined dependent variables after controlling for covariates age and education with large effect size (ηp2 = .233). Subsequent analyses of covariance only revealed a main effect of FHD on phonemic fluency after controlling for covariates with moderate effect size (ηp2 = .124). Except for contextual memory, the dementia history group (+DH) generally performed lower than the non-dementia history group (-DH).
Conclusions: Data suggest that FHD can be negatively associated with neuropsy- chological test performance among cognitively healthy Puerto Ricans. FHD as a covariate in normal cognitive aging studies should be considered, even among the young-old adult range. Further exploration of the relationship between +DH and test performance, specifically phonemic fluency among Puerto Ricans, is warranted.