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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Johns Hopkins: Researchers Awarded $33 Million NIH Grant to Study Effects of Vascular Risk Factors on Cognitive Function

Researchers in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s department of epidemiology have received a $33 million, four-year grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Aging, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This collaborative project is co-led by Dr. Josef Coresh, George W. Comstock Professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of epidemiology, and Dr. Rebecca Gottesman, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and includes researchers at six other universities.

The research team will study cognitive decline and dementia as well as identify potential targets for prevention by evaluating cognitive and physical resilience (stable function showing no decline with age) and cognitive reserve (the maintenance of cognitive function despite abnormalities seen on brain imaging).

The grant will fund annual visits and brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) imaging for Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort participants across the U.S. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) has been following 15,792 participants since they enrolled from 1987-1989 which allows for careful study of longitudinal health patterns. Approximately 8,000 participants are still alive and are between ages 80 and 100.

Dementia and mild cognitive impairment pose a large and increasing health and societal burden on the aging U.S. population. ARIC investigators study risk factors for vascular disease in the brain, retina, heart, lung, and kidney tissues with the goal of improving health, identifying preventable factors, and training leaders in research.

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