Maria Carrillo, PhD: December 17, 2015


Maria Carrillo, PhD

Chief Science Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association



In the United States, Hispanic Americans are 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to develop Alzheimer’s. Despite the increasing number of people developing the disease each year, there is still a general lack of information and a strong stigma among Latinos. Fresh from the First Symposium of Alzheimer’s Disease Research in Latin America – a conference convened by the Alzheimer’s Association to strengthen collaborations among the leading groups in Alzheimer’s research from the region, and to stimulate future alliances – Dr. Maria Carrillo, the Chief Science Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association, is available for live interviews on December 15th. She can discuss the ins and outs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and how it affects the U.S. Hispanic population. She also can describe the recent research Symposium held in Mexico City and why it matters.


Facts to consider:

  • 46.8 million people age 60 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia worldwide, and that number is expected to double every 20 years.
  • During the first half of the 21st century, the number of Hispanic elders with Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the U.S. could increase more than six-fold, from fewer than 200,000 to as many as 1.3 million by 2050.
  • U.S. Latinos face a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias because they are living longer, but also because they have higher rates of heart health risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Risk factors for heart disease may also be risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
  • Only 18 countries around the world have national Alzheimer’s plans – two of which are Mexico and the United States.



Dr. Carrillo is Chief Science Officer the Alzheimer’s Association. At the Association, Dr. Carrillo has a wide range of responsibilities, including oversight of the Association’s research grant process and communication of scientific findings within and outside the organization. Dr. Carrillo participates in shaping the global landscape of Alzheimer’s and dementia research and ongoing investigations with a wide range of constituents. She manages the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the largest international discussion on Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the world; the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable, which provides a forum for pharmaceutical and other companies to discuss trends in Alzheimer research and therapeutic targets; and the World-Wide Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, aimed at finding tools for early detection of Alzheimer’s.


Dr. Carrillo is on the Advisory Committee for the World Health Organization Dementia Setting Priorities & Portfolio Analysis. She works with the OECD on Big Data Solutions for Global Dementia Research. Dr. Carrillo received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s Institute for Neuroscience in 1996. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where she later took a position as an assistant professor, before joining the Alzheimer’s Association in 2005.

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