USC team to study link between financial decision making and Alzheimer's disease

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Han Research Lab at the Keck School of Medicine has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study the link between financial decision making and Alzheimer's disease.

Primary investigator Duke Han and his co-investigators will seek to find out if vulnerability to financial exploitation can help identify older adults at risk for cognitive decline. They will follow 180 older adults for three years, measuring cognition, behavioral economic preferences, neuroimaging and genetics.

By leveraging both quantitative data and qualitative interviews, the team hopes to better understand financial vulnerability in older age and how it relates to risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

"We care immensely about the health and financial wellbeing of older adults," Han said. "In addition to the quantitative measurements such as neuroimaging and genetic testing, we are interviewing people to hear their stories. We hope our work leads to the development of new ways that might benefit older adults."

In the United States, it is estimated that older adults are exploited for an estimated $3 billion to $36 billion annually. Financial abuse of older adults is the most common type of elder abuse and is associated with significant health issues.