$14.2 Million from NIA Funds Research on Risks of Alzheimer’s, Related Dementias

Affiliate Eric Grodsky is part of a research team awarded $14.2 million in new funding from the National Institute on Aging to study the early life conditions that can affect later-life risks for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD). The project will examine biomarkers to uncover how experiences and educational opportunities in adolescence shape risks of cognitive impairment.

Led by John Robert (Rob) Warren (an alumnus of the Department of Sociology and CDE/CDHA) of the University of Minnesota, the project adds a new component to the High School & Beyond cohort study, a longitudinal study of high school sophomores and seniors begun in 1980. Researchers have followed the large, nationally representative, and racially and ethnically diverse cohort from adolescence through middle age. Researchers will collect a variety of health measures from participants, including height and weight, blood pressure, pulse, blood, and saliva. They will also collect consents to link to respondents’ pharmacy records. The team hopes to learn more about the risk and resilience factors that shape cognitive impairment as people enter their late 50s.

The newly collected biomarker data will enable new research on the social and biological forces that intersect to shape the evolution of cognitive impairment and AD/ADRD over the life course. Taken together, the survey, genomic, microbiome, and administrative data of High School & Beyond will allow the research team and other scientists to analyze the effects of education and early life conditions on cognitive function and risk for impairment at midlife.

A press release is available via the University of Minnesota.