NIH extends large-scale study of Alzheimer’s disease biomarker

News release

Monday, September 14, 2020

To meet the pressing need to better understand the prevalence, progression, and clinical impact of Alzheimer’s disease among Mexican Americans, the National Institutes of Health conducted positron emission tomography (PET) imaging: ongoing health and including , Has added funds for more biomarker measures. Aged Brain (HABLE) Study among Latino Elders. The NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) awarded the new support, which is expected to total $ 45.5 million over five years, to the North Texas Health Sciences Center (HSC) in Fort Worth for health and aging brains. And neurodegeneration (HABLE-AT (N)) studies. This joint investment and effort will help researchers better understand brain aging and Alzheimer’s health disparities between Mexican Americans and non-Latino mites.

“To successfully and ultimately prevent or treat a complex disease like Alzheimer’s, we need to understand how this disease and other forms of dementia affect our nation’s diverse communities differently,” NIA Division of Neuroscience Director of Eleazer Maslia said. “Measuring additional biomarkers in this population will provide important clues to the guide’s approach to targeting the right disease processes in the right people at the right time.”

In the search for treatment and prevention for the most common form of Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is paramount to develop a better understanding of how and why different communities affect multiple diseases in different ways. While studies show a decline in the rate of dementia, most of this evidence is based on studies in non-Latino whites; It is largely unknown whether these trends extend to underrepresented populations.

Launched in September 2017, the HALT study has completed recruitment of 1,000 Mexican Americans and 1,000 non-Latino whites ages 50 and older in the Fort Worth area. HABL participants receive a functional examination, clinical laboratories, neuropsychological tests, bloodwork, and an MRI of the brain. Additional funding for HABLE-AT (N) significantly extends the neuroimaging component of the study to include amyloid and tau PET. Researchers also plan to determine whether amyloid peptides (Aβ40 and Aβ42), tau and neurofilament light (NfL) traces, as well as exosomes in the blood – can be used to screen in the Alzheimer’s spectrum, From asymptomatic to mild cognitive. Disease impairment and advanced stage.

An additional benefit of HABLE and HABLE AT (N) would be the ability to better classify / classify participants into groups by type of dementia and stage of the disease. This will help facilitate possible enrollment in future studies.

The research teams for HABLE and HABLE-AT (N) consist of leading experts in Mexican American cognitive aging, neuroimaging, blood-based biomarkers, as well as advanced statistical modeling. Sid O’Bryant, PhD, professor and executive director of the HSC Institute for Translational Research and professor in the Pharmacology and Neuroscience unit of HSC, is the lead investigator for both efforts.

Estimates from the US Census Bureau show that Latino ages 65 and over are expected to quadruple by 2060, while for the same age range, the number of non-Hispanic whites is expected to increase by approximately 23%. And the number will be more than double the number of blacks. Because aging is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, it means that Latino will face the largest increase in Alzheimer’s cases in 3.5 million of any racial / ethnic group nationwide. Mexican Americans are the largest segment of the US Latina population.

“The scope and urgency of HABLE and HABLE-AT (N) are important to this qualified population,” said Dallas Anderson, a program director at the Population Studies and Genetics Branch of the NIA’s Division of Neuroscience. “Most importantly, it will help clarify questions in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in Mexican Americans.”

The NIA is committed to supporting studies on risk factors related to health disparities. A major part of the HABLE-AT (N) study is its alignment with the NIA-Alzheimer’s Association Research Framework. This biological construct is based on three general groups of biomarkers: beta-amyloid (A), tau (T), and neurodegeneration or neuronal injury (N). Also known as the AT (N) research framework, it is designed to facilitate a better understanding of the disease process and the sequence of events leading to cognitive impairment and dementia. HABLE and HABLE-AT (N) are also responsible for the NIA Health Inequality Research Framework.

The new study is helpful in ensuring that Alzheimer’s biomarker studies are increasingly representative of the population. HABLE-AT (N) will provide various biological, behavioral, environmental, and socioeconomic data to examine the larger picture of how Alzheimer’s affects people throughout their lives. There will also be data to determine whether Mexican Americans experience the Alzheimer’s biomarker trajectory reported in previous studies.

The HSC’s Institute for Translational Research will also make HABLE and HABLE-AT (N) data available to the scientific community to facilitate rapid scientific progress, thereby meeting an NIA goal of open access to research data.

The HABLE-AT (N) study is funded by NIH grant R01AG058533-01A1. The study of HIB is funded by NIH grant R01AG054073.

The NIA leads the NIH’s systematic planning, development, and implementation of research milestones to achieve the goal of effectively treating and preventing Alzheimer’s and related dementias. HABLE and HABLE-AT (N) demonstrate efforts toward the following milestones:

  • Clarify the epidemic of health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (AD / ADRD) by periodically documenting and monitoring trends of health disparities in AD / ADRD prevalence and incidence.
  • Initiate studies to link peripheral blood-based molecular signatures and central imaging and CSF biomarkers.
  • Expand existing large-scale, open-science molecular profiling efforts.

The NIA recently updated its website with a new Spanish-language health information landing page: Current information is available on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, as well as clinical trials and other aging-related health topics.

Inforcion de salud –

About National Institute on Aging (NIA): The NIA leads the US federal government effort to conduct and support research on the health and well-being of aging and older people. Learn more about age-related cognitive changes and neurodegenerative diseases through the NIA’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center website. For information about a wide range of aging topics, visit the main NIA website and stay connected.

About National Institutes of Health (NIH):The NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, consists of 27 institutions and centers and is a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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