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Population Studies: Inclusion of non-AD cohorts (Milestone 1.F)

In Progress

Timeline Start - End

2018 - 2024

Research Implementation Area

Population Studies and Precision Medicine

Support the inclusion of measures of AD-related phenotypes and environmental exposures in non-AD cohorts to enable new discovery research and to accelerate cross-validation of discoveries made in AD cohorts.

Success Criteria

  • Provide supplemental funding to at least 6 clinical research studies on well-phenotyped, diverse, midlife cohorts, to explore the impact of environmental exposures on the pathogenesis of AD and AD-related dementias. These efforts should include support for the development of novel, open source computational methods for data mining and data integration.

Summary of Key Accomplishments

NIA has supported and continues to support the inclusion of population studies not originally designed to study AD in collecting and analyzing cognitive and other data that may support our understanding of the protective and risk factors of dementia. NIA supported supplemental funding to existing longitudinal research studies to measure biomarkers and identify possible risk factors for age-related diseases, including dementia. NIA issued a funding opportunity to add new cognitive measures to the Midlife in the U.S. (MIDUS) study to leverage this non-AD cohort to understand the risk factors that lead to dementia. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) gathers demographic, and other data along with information about respondents’ neighborhoods and communities and with a new award will soon gather cognitive function data from individuals first interviewed as adolescents in 1994 who are now approaching midlife. High School and Beyond prospectively follows a cohort of 1980 high school sophomores and seniors who are now reaching age 60, with additional studies examining the impact of pollution on cognitive function. NIA has supported research on brain aging and AD/ADRD in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). In 2020, NIA established the FHS Brain Aging Program (FHS-BAP) to continue tracking and evaluating FHS participants for dementia and to invigorate the study’s brain donation program and brain bank. The FHS-BAP will also establish a platform to promote data sharing and conduct three interrelated projects focused on understanding how genetic and environmental factors interact and lead to different risk and resilience profiles.

Additionally, an NIA supported multidisciplinary research team is leveraging 14 years of research on the Tsimane people to understand how environmental factors associated with pre-industrial lifestyle influence brain aging and risk and resilience to AD.

The key accomplishments summary is current as of July 2022. 

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