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2008 Grants - Noble
Arteriosclerosis and Alzheimer's in a Multiethnic Group of Autopsy Brains
James M. Noble, M.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
Epidemiologic studies have found that Alzheimer's disease occurs at higher rates in some ethnic groups, such as blacks and Hispanics, as compared with whites. Several other chronic conditions associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, including high blood pressure and diabetes, also appear to occur at higher rates in these ethnic groups. One common factor that may link these chronic conditions to Alzheimer's disease is damage to blood vessels supplying the brain. These observations have led some investigators to propose that damage to blood vessels, especially hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), may be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
James M. Noble, M.D., and colleagues are studying how chronic diseases and arteriosclerosis may be linked to an increase in the risk of Alzheimer's disease. They plan to extend previous studies of this topic by using a quantitative measure of arteriosclerosis that has been developed in previous studies. They will apply this measure to the study of brain specimens obtained during autopsies of persons from different ethnic backgrounds. The researchers will then use established statistical techniques to determine the relationship between the severity of arteriosclerosis and the severity of dementia documented during each person's clinical records. These studies may clarify the contribution of arteriosclerosis to Alzheimer's disease, particularly in different ethnic groups.