Rufus Olusola Akinyemi, MBBS, Ph.D.
University of Ibadan
Studies have found that cardiovascular health is linked to cognition (brain function) and the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. In particular, conditions like high blood pressure and type II diabetes, both risk factors for heart disease, may be associated with brain changes associated with cognitive impairment. Currently, there is little data on why individuals of African ancestry may be more prone to vascular cognitive disorders or how vascular damage could be associated with cognitive decline in individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. In the VALIANT (Vascular heAlth, fraiLty and cognItion in Ageing Nigerians sTudy) project, Dr. Rufus Olusola Akinyemi will leverage existing population studies to examine cognitively unimpaired older adults in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria and evaluate measures of cardiovascular and cognitive health. Using this information, Dr. Akinyemi will then gain a deeper understanding of the mechanism by which lifestyle determinants and biological processes underlie cognitive impairment of individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Akinyemi will aim to expand the participant pool to include individuals from the rural areas of Nigeria. Dr. Akinyemi will also establish a biobank of biological materials including blood, brain tissue and DNA samples for anticipated future analyses. The study results could provide a better understanding of how vascular risk factors, lifestyle and environmental influences may be associated with the development of dementia in the sub-Saharan African population.
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