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University of Mississippi Medical Center to lead in nationwide NIH-funded Alzheimer's study
Date:7/13/2010

primary study sites Johns Hopkins University, receiving about $4.6 million, Wake Forest University, receiving about $3.6 million, the University of Minnesota, receiving about $4.3 million, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill receiving about $4.6 million.

Funded under UMMC's $9 million portion of the grant, Mosley's team includes scientists from the Mayo Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas at Houston, Boston University and Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

The ARIC study has followed a group of roughly 16,000 participants for more than 20 years, from middle age into late life. Participants were initially recruited from four communities around the U.S., including approximately 4,000 African Americans from Jackson, Miss. Through a series of medical examinations over the years, ARIC participants have been extensively evaluated for diseases and factors including heart disease, hypertension and cognitive function.

Recent research has found African Americans may have a twofold or greater risk for Alzheimer's compared to whites. With one of the largest and most extensively evaluated African American study subgroups, the ARIC Neurocognitive Study will help illuminate the role of ethnic differences in relative risk for dementia.

Previous work by Mosley and ARIC colleagues has pointed to the importance of vascular risk factors in predicting decline in cognitive functions such as memory and processing speed. Using brain imaging, Mosley and colleagues have also shown brain changes, such as atrophy and silent strokes, are surprisingly common, even in middle-age adults and that these brain abnormalities begin to affect cognitive functions as early as middle age.

"A key question is whether brain changes we find in mid life predict dementia later in life and, if so, whether they are caused by potentially modifiable conditions, such as hypertension," Mosley said.

The ARIC Neu
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Contact: Jack Mazurak
jmazurak@umc.edu
601-984-1970
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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