Ecuadorian woman with flowers
Project Type - Pilot Projects

Characterizing the Neurocognitive and Social Health in Ecuador

Developing a methodology to evaluate the neurocognitive health of older adults
Latin America & Caribbean


Ecuador is one of the most culturally, ethnically, and socially diverse countries in Latin America. The last National Survey of Well-being and Aging in 2010 determined “cognitive impairment” based on limited cognitive assessment and identified that 44.1% of women living in rural areas have cognitive decline; regardless of educational level, sociodemographic, socioeconomic factors, and functionality

The overarching aim of this project is to contribute towards the improvement of the Ecuadorian National Survey of Well-being and Aging cognitive assessment battery by developing and testing a methodology that more precisely evaluates the neurocognitive health of older adults living in diverse Ecuadorian settings.

Project Details

This project will explore two specific aims:

  1. To characterize the neurocognitive health (cognitively healthy, subjective cognitive decline, mild neurocognitive disorder, major neurocognitive disorder) of a diverse sample of older adults (aged 65 years and older) living in the Andean region of Cotacachi, Ecuador, using validated brief tests of cognition and functional abilities.
  2. To describe participant exposures to key social and environmental determinants of brain health and explore how these exposures correlate with brain health outcomes (as determined through aim 1).

This is a descriptive, one-stage cross-sectional study. We will seek to enroll at least 80 older adults for this study. A guided interview of approximately 50 minutes that includes cognitive assessment, functionality assessment, and Social Determinants of Brain Health Questionnaire will be applied. The results will characterize neurocognitive health status in a representative sample of older adults from the Andean region of Cotacachi, Ecuador.

Given the significant weaknesses of the National Survey of Well-being and Aging due to not adjusted valuation for the diversity of Ecuadorian older adults, the overarching goal of this project is to develop a methodology that will enable a more accurate estimation of the neurocognitive health of older adults in Ecuador living in diverse settings and thereby improve on future National Surveys assessments.