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Approved Research

Investigation of risk factors and risk markers for brain aging and dementia

Principal Investigator: Dr Yuan Ma
Approved Research ID: 91003
Approval date: December 20th 2022

Lay summary

More than 55 million people are now living with dementia. With increasing life expectancies, their number is predicted to triple by 2050. Dementia is devastating for the patients and families affected by it. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. We do not yet fully understand what causes dementia. Currently, there is no cure that can slow down or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Therefore it is important to identify what risk factors can be targeted in order to curb the rising tide of dementia cases worldwide. The aims of this proposal are to 1) identify the potentially modifiable risk factors of brain aging and dementia and 2) further investigate the underlying mechanisms that may link potentially modifiable risk factors to brain aging and dementia. We expect that such knowledge will inform the primary preventive strategies for dementia. Our investigation of the underlying mechanisms will also inform the potential therapeutic targets for dementia.

Scope extension:

This proposal aims to identify modifiable risk factors and early-stage markers for brain aging and dementia and to further investigate underlying mechanisms that link modifiable risk factors to brain aging and dementia. Our primary exposures are potential factors related to cardiac and vascular functions. Our primary outcomes are incident dementia and subclinical brain disease measured by neuroimaging biomarkers.

One additional point we will include in the extended scope is to investigate stroke and other major neurological diseases as the outcomes of interest given the close relationships between these major brain diseases.