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Population Studies: Diverse cohorts (Milestone 1.C)

In Progress

Timeline Start - End

2016 - 2024

Research Implementation Area

Population Studies and Precision Medicine

Continue to establish new cohorts that include participants across diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and incorporate the collection of multi-omic and clinical data (imaging, personal wearables, and sensors for in-home monitoring) to accelerate the identification of genomic variants and other risk and protective factors contributing to the heterogeneity and multifactorial etiology of dementia and to enable the development of predictive models of disease and wellness. Ensure that these cohorts represent the current and future projected population trends.

Success Criteria

  • Establish at least 3 new cohorts that incorporate deep molecular endophenotyping with participants of African, Native American, Asian, and mixed ancestry, e.g. Latinos, as well as younger cohorts (midlife and younger participants). The phenotyping should include cognitive, behavioral, imaging, exposome measurements, multidimensional “omics” data (generated from the target tissue as well as peripheral tissues) and multiple types of physiologic measurements that can be used for systems biology and gene-environment interaction studies. 
  • Improve research rigor in cohort studies by incorporating assessment of the impact of social determinants of health (SDOH) and by supporting uniform genotyping/deep sequencing, by standardizing biosamples collection (brain, CSF, blood and stool specimens) as well as blood and CSF biomarker assays.
  • These programs should include big-data infrastructure resources to ensure that the data are made available as a public resource and support for collection, storage and rapid distribution of biosamples (e.g., brain tissue, CSF, blood and stool specimens).

Summary of Key Accomplishments

NIA supports a number of life-course studies of diverse populations that collect and share a depth and breadth of data. The HABS-HD study (Health and Aging Brain Study – Health Disparities) is a new cohort study with multi-ethnic participants (1,000 Mexican Americans, 1,000 African Americans, 1,000 non-Hispanic Whites) and has a major focus on participant engagement biobanking and rapid sharing of data.

Another example is the Multi-phasic Health Study, a large life-course study of the oldest-old (90 years+) among non-white minorities to identify risk and protective factors for AD/ADRD; for each participant, rich health data, including disease biomarker data, are collected over 30-50 years.

The Kaiser Healthy Aging and Diverse Life Experiences (KHANDLE) Study is one of the largest life-course cohorts with diverse racial/ethnic composition and prospective clinical, lifestyle, and behavioral data from 1964 -present.

NIA also supports the Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP), which enables researchers to measure and understand dementia risk in ongoing longitudinal studies of aging around the world.

The key accomplishments summary is current as of July 2022. 

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