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VCID Basic Research: Understand cerebrovascular and cardiovascular risk factors for dementia (Milestone 2.R)

In Progress

Timeline Start - End

2016 - 2027

Research Implementation Area

Research on Disease Mechanisms

AD-Related Dementias Focus

Use experimental models to investigate how aging, cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease impact myelin, white matter degeneration and neurodegeneration. 

Success Criteria

  • A national consortium to advance new basic research that provides rigorous and novel insight into how cerebrovascular disease, cardiovascular disease, and risk factors in different brain vascular zones, including in both gray matter and white matter, lead to VCID.

Summary of Key Accomplishments

New research indicates the importance of maintaining the best heart health possible for good cognitive health during aging. The results, from a clinical research study in an aging community-based population in the U.S., show that even small decreases in the amount of blood that the heart pumps may be tied to poorer cognitive outcomes during aging including for language, information processing speed, visuospatial skills, and episodic memory. While significant heart disease was already a known risk for brain heath, the discovery that even small changes in heart health may be a risk for cognitive decline during aging is new. Efforts to better understand genetic risks and, importantly for everyday life, to strive for optimal heart health, are further motivated by these findings.

The key accomplishments summary is current as of July 2022.  

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