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2013 Grants - White
Honolulu-Asia Aging Study Clinical-Neuropathologic Analyses
Lon White, M.P.H., M.D.
Pacific Health Research and Education Institute
2013 Zenith Fellows Award
The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS) is an ongoing, long-term study of people living in Hawaii that has yielded important information about risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Lon White, M.P.H., M.D., and colleagues have proposed a detailed study of brain structure to be conducted as part of the HAAS.
Many of the participants in the HAAS study, as well as the similar Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) were born in the early 1900s and have died in recent years. As part of the study, these individuals (more than 850) agreed to allow their brains to be studied on autopsy. Using autopsy specimens and data on risk factors collected over many years from the HAAS and HHP, Dr. White and colleagues plan to determine which risk factors are associated with different types of brain lesions (damaged tissue) related to dementia.
The researchers will examine the brain tissue for signs of the changes known to be associated with neurodegenerative disease, such as amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, cell death, abnormal cell growth and blood vessel blockage. They will then use statistical techniques to assess which risk factors during life were associated with various types of brain abnormalities. This study will yield vast new amounts of information about risk factors for neurodegenerative disorders based on the strongest outcome measurable, direct observation of brain samples.