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Brain Aging in African-Americans: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Experience

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Reported rates of dementia differ by race, although most studies have not focused on carefully measured outcomes, confounding by education or other demographic factors, nor have they studied other outcomes other than dementia. In this review we will discuss the experience in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study evaluating racial disparities relating to stroke, subclinical brain infarction, leukoaraiosis, as well as cognitive change and dementia. ARIC is a biracial cohort of 15,792 participants from four U.S. communities, initially recruited in 1987-1989, and seen at a total of 5 in-person visits (most recently seen in 2011-2013) with annual follow-up phone calls. We will provide evidence from ARIC studies that disproportionate rates of vascular risk factors explain at least some of these observed disparities by race, but particular risk factors, including diabetes, may differentially affect the brain in African-American versus white participants. In addition, we will review some of the disparities by race in studies focusing on the genetics of stroke, small vessel disease, and dementia.
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Keywords: Brain MRI; Racial disparities; cognition; dementia; epidemiology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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