Estimating dementia risk in an African American population using the DCTclock

Front Aging Neurosci. 2024 Jan 11:15:1328333. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2023.1328333. eCollection 2023.


The prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias (ADRD) is increasing. African Americans are twice as likely to develop dementia than other ethnic populations. Traditional cognitive screening solutions lack the sensitivity to independently identify individuals at risk for cognitive decline. The DCTclock is a 3-min AI-enabled adaptation of the well-established clock drawing test. The DCTclock can estimate dementia risk for both general cognitive impairment and the presence of AD pathology. Here we performed a retrospective analysis to assess the performance of the DCTclock to estimate future conversion to ADRD in African American participants from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Minority Aging Research Study (MARS) and African American Clinical Core (AACORE). We assessed baseline DCTclock scores in 646 participants (baseline median age = 78.0 ± 6.4, median years of education = 14.0 ± 3.2, 78% female) and found significantly lower baseline DCTclock scores in those who received a dementia diagnosis within 3 years. We also found that 16.4% of participants with a baseline DCTclock score less than 60 were significantly more likely to develop dementia in 5 years vs. those with the highest DCTclock scores (75-100). This research demonstrates the DCTclock's ability to estimate the 5-year risk of developing dementia in an African American population. Early detection of elevated dementia risk using the DCTclock could provide patients, caregivers, and clinicians opportunities to plan and intervene early to improve cognitive health trajectories. Early detection of dementia risk can also enhance participant selection in clinical trials while reducing screening costs.

Keywords: African American clinical; Alzheimer’s disease; DCTclock; Minority Aging Research Study (MARS); Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; dementia; dementia estimation.