Older adult Peru making pottery
Project Type - Pilot Projects

Cognitive Health and Functional Abilities of Illiterate, Older Peruvians

Characterizing the cognitive and functional abilities of illiterate older adults in Peru
South America


In countries like Peru, brain health and dementia knowledge and awareness are lacking. This gap is especially notable in rural populations, where illiteracy is highly prevalent. Validated brief cognitive tests (BCTs) for illiterate Peruvians do not exist currently, and we believe that BCTs that have been validated in illiterate or low-education populations of other countries/regions are not be entirely useful in different regions of Peru. Anecdotal observations lead us to believe that in many rural regions of the country functional independence is maintained for longer periods of time even in the setting of measurable cognitive impairment.

Project Details

Our aim is to characterize the cognitive and functional abilities of illiterate older adults living in one rural and one urban community. Evaluate the classification accuracy of three BCTs (Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS), and The UCSF Tablet-Based Brain Health Assessment (BHA), and one brief functionality assessment (adapted version of Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire, PFAQ) against gold standard (GS) multidisciplinary diagnosis of cognitively healthy versus mild and major neurocognitive disorder. Explore the relationship between functional abilities and cognitive/neuropsychological health based on GS functional and neuropsychological measures in rural and urban illiterate adults of each region.

We hypothesize that BCTs will perform differently in the two regions being tested, compared to GS diagnoses. Additionally, the adapted PFAQ will perform well compared to GS functional assessment (Clinical Dementia Rating; CDR) in the evaluation of illiterate patients in rural and urban settings across the two regions.