RADC Cohort Study Designs in Brief

Religious Orders Study (ROS) Overview paper

Design: Longitudinal, epidemiologic clinical-pathologic cohort study of aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD)

Participants: Older (age 65+) Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers from more than 40 groups across US

  • Without known dementia at enrollment
  • Agreeing to annual clinical evaluation and cognitive testing, baseline blood draw (subset with annual blood draw)
  • Agreeing to brain donation after death (some in Chicago area also agree to spinal cord, nerve, and muscle donation)

Enrollment began in 1994.

Memory and Aging Project (MAP) Overview paper

Design: Longitudinal, epidemiologic clinical-pathologic cohort study of common chronic conditions of aging with emphasis on decline in cognitive and motor function and risk of AD

Participants: Older (age 65+) adults recruited from retirement communities and subsidized senior housing facilities throughout Chicagoland and northeastern Illinois

  • Without known dementia at enrollment
  • Agreeing to annual clinical evaluation, cognitive testing, and blood draw
  • Agreeing to organ donation (spinal cord, muscle and nerve, and brain)

Recruitment began in 1997, with expanded recruitment and data collection in 2001. Participants are invited to participate in substudies (including studies of physical activity and sleep using actigraphy; neuroimaging; and health and financial decision making).

Minority Aging Research Study (MARS) Overview paper

Design: Longitudinal, epidemiologic cohort study of cognitive decline and risk of AD in older African Americans

Participants: Older (age 65+) adults who self-identify as African American adults

  • Without known dementia at enrollment
  • Agreeing to annual clinical evaluation and blood draw
  • Agreeing optionally to brain donation

Recruitment began in 2004, voluntary brain donation began in 2010. Recruitment locations include churches, subsidized senior housing facilities, retirement communities, African American clubs, organizations, fraternities, sororities, and social service centers that cater to seniors in the metropolitan Chicago area and outlying suburbs.

Clinical Core

Design: Longitudinal, epidemiologic clinical-pathologic cohort study of the transition from normal aging to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to the earliest stages of dementia

Participants: Older (age 65+) self-reported African Americans from metropolitan Chicago area and outlying suburbs

  • Includes those with and without dementia
  • Agreeing to annual clinical evaluation and blood draw
  • Agreeing optionally to organ donation (spinal cord, nerve, muscle, and skin donation)

The Clinical Core started in 1992 and consisted primarily of whites with dementia enrolled from the Rush memory clinic. Since then the Core has transitioned in 2008 to consist of primarily older African Americans, most without dementia who share a common core of risk factors with the other RADC studies and use the same harmonized cognitive battery. This design feature allows researchers to merge the Clinical Core data with other RADC studies in order to augment the number of older African Americans for analyses.

Latino CORE Study (LATC)

Design: Longitudinal, epidemiologic cohort study of cognitive decline and identifying risk factors of AD in older Latinos

Participants: Older (age 65+) adults who self-identify as Latino/Hispanic

  • Without known dementia at time of enrollment
  • Agreeing to annual clinical evaluation and blood draw
  • Agreeing optionally to brain donation

Recruitment began in October of 2015. Recruitment locations range from churches, subsidized senior housing facilities, retirement communities, Latino/Hispanic clubs, organizations, and social service centers that cater to seniors in various Chicago neighborhoods and outlying suburbs.

Center of Excellence on Disparities in HIV & Aging (CEDHA)

Design: Longitudinal, epidemiologic cohort study of aging among individuals with and without HIV

Participants: Self-identified African Americans and Whites, aged 50+ who are either HIV-positive or HIV-negative

  • Agreeing to annual clinical evaluation and blood draw
  • Includes RADC cognitive battery and similar risk factors
  • Stored serum and plasma available longitudinally

Recruitment began in 2012.

Study of Ancestry, Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Stroke (SANDS)

Design: Genetic pathology study to identify genomic variants of African and European Ancestry associated with AD and other common neurodegenerative disease pathologies. The study leverages a unique resource, the Sao Paulo Autopsy Center at the University of Sao Paulo, to prospectively collect post-mortem data on brain pathologies and genomic data, from 10,000 admixed Brazilian brains. The study will characterize the entire genome for African, European, and Native Brazilian ancestry and link genetic variants to quantitative pathologic traits to target the full spectrum of each disease.

Subjects: Individuals middle aged and older who are autopsied at the Sao Paulo Autopsy Service (SPAS)

  • Without established case of death
  • Next-of-kin agreeing to brain donation
  • Next-of-kin agreeing optionally to interview (clinical and functional information of deceased individual)

Study began in September 2016. Consent is obtained from next-of-kin upon arrival at the autopsy service.