Illinois PRC - Healthy Brain Research Network


In 2011, there were 41.4 million people aged 65+ in the United States, an increase of 6.3 million, or 18 percent, since 2000. By 2040, it is estimated that 79.7 million older adults will be living in the world. Furthermore, the population of those over than 85 years old will triple from 2011 to 2040, from 5.7 million to 14.1 million. As the U.S. population ages, it also grows more diverse. Specifically, racial and ethnic minorities have increased from 5.7 million in 2000 (16.3% of all older adults) to 8.5 million in 2011 (21% of older adults), with projected increases to 20.2 million in 2030 (28% of older adults).

The relationship between advanced age and cognitive decline is well documented. One in four older adults between ages 80 and 89 is diagnosed with dementia. In addition, most older adults experience nonclinically recognized decline in cognitive functioning with age, and, as age increases, cognitive decline becomes more dramatic. The high prevalence of dementia coupled with the aging of the population will result in marked growth in the numbers of individuals with dementia.

Importantly, there are health disparities in cognitive decline. Latinos have twice the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease compared to non-Latino whites, and African Americans report higher mortality associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Most adults are aware of Alzheimer’s disease but report they lack specific information about the disease and its treatments. Previously, members of the CDC's Healthy Aging Research Network conducted 69 focus groups focused on brain health with more than 500 older adults of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Investigators found:

  • Many older adults had not read or heard about brain health in the media.
  • They perceived barriers to seeking brain health information, including information from the media that confused them.
  • Different dissemination channels were preferred by different racial groups.
  • Communication strategies could focus on shared perceptions of aging well among different racial/ethnic groups, such as living longer with intact cognitive function, but that health promotions could also create and target culturally sensitive messages that are more salient to specific racial/ethnic groups.

Since 2001, this CDC network has formulated a prevention research agenda for older adults in the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map. We at the Illinois PRC will assist in advancing this agenda, by contributing expertise in aging, brain health, and communications. We will help develop methods to be used to deliver brain health messages, develop content and consistency of messaging, and implement culturally sensitive approaches, messages, and dissemination efforts.

Research Partner(s)

The Illinois PRC is a collaborating center in the CDC’s Healthy Brain Research Network, which includes research partners at:

  • University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center (Coordinating Center)
  • Oregon Health and Science University Center for Healthy Communities
  • University of Arizona Prevention Research Center
  • University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center
  • University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center
Funding Agency

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant No. 3U48DP005010, under the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Centers)


Principal investigator
David X. Marquez, PhD


Susan L. Hughes, DSW

Start date
End date
Total award
About this grant

This special interest competitive supplement grant (SIP 14-002) to the Illinois Prevention Research Center supports the center’s participation in a CDC network of PRCs that conduct research to improve brain health among older adults in 2015–2019. The award amount is a projection based on the original notice of the award in 2015.

Related publications

Marquez DX, Aguiñaga S, Castillo A, Hughes SL, Der Ananian C, Whitt-Glover MC. ¡Ojo! What to expect in recruiting and retaining older Latinos in physical activity programs. Transl Behav Med. 2019 Aug 19. pii: ibz127. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibz127.

DiPietro L, Buchner DM, Marquez DX, Pate RR, Pescatello LS, Whitt-Glover MC. New scientific basis for the 2018 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines. J Sport Health Sci. 2019 May;8(3):197-200. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2019.03.007.

King AC, Whitt-Glover MC, Marquez DX, Buman MP, Napolitano MA, Jakicic J, et al; 2018 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE*. Physical Activity Promotion: Highlights from the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Systematic Review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1340-1353. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001945.

Erickson KI, Hillman C, Stillman CM, Ballard RM, Bloodgood B, Conroy DE, et al; FOR 2018 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE*. Physical Activity, Cognition, and Brain Outcomes: A Review of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1242-1251. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001936.

Farren L, Belza B, Allen P, Brolliar S, Brown DR, Cormier ML, et al. Mall Walking Program Environments, Features, and Participants: A Scoping Review. Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:150027. DOI: