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2011 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant (IIRG)

Offspring of Ethnically Diverse People With and Without Alzheimer's Disease

Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY - United States

Several risk factors for Alzheimer's disease have been identified, including family history, ethnicity, educational background, diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal blood cholesterol levels and history of stroke. In many cases, risk factors interact such that the presence of one risk factor modifies the degree of risk associated with another risk factor. How such interactions affect the overall risk of Alzheimer's disease is not well understood.

Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed to study how ethnicity and family history of Alzheimer's disease interact with other risk factors. The researchers have access to an existing database of information about the cognitive health of people of different ethnicity during aging. They plan to study the children of these people, comparing those whose parents did and did not develop Alzheimer's disease, and comparing those of differing ethnicities..

Dr. Manly's team will also study whether the risk of Alzheimer's disease associated with educational background is different among persons of differing ethnicities. Finally, the researchers will examine how other risk factors modify the risk associated with having a parent who had Alzheimer's disease. These studies may help to identify risk factors that can be modified to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in specific groups of individuals, defined by ethnicity and family history.

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