The objective of this scientific meeting application is to create an interdisciplinary research team that will lay the theoretical and methodological groundwork for novel investigation of the neuroscience of cognitive aging among African Americans. The central goal of this team's work will be to provide the foundation needed to close critical gaps in knowledge and to enhance the quality, innovation, and productivity of cognitive aging research among African Americans. This interdisciplinary team of neuropsychologists, cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, gerontologists, statisticians, sociologists, and geneticists, will produce a blueprint for research on cognitive aging among African Americans that will facilitate new discoveries about the impact of socio-cultural experiences throughout the life span on brain health. By incorporating measures of these diverse experiences of African Americans, from childhood to older age, into research on the neuroscience of aging, complex interactions between cognition, cardiovascular health, genetics, brain structure, and brain function can be elucidated. An integrated understanding of these interactions is critical for developing interventions to maintain cognitive health among this understudied population. This objective will be achieved by holding a series of in-person meetings and video conferences that bring together researchers with expertise in diverse research sub-disciplines to promote scientific exchange and develop a comprehensive agenda on African American cognitive aging. At these meetings, the interdisciplinary group will: 1) determine the most innovative models, methodology and analytic approaches to address critical gaps in research knowledge on cognitive aging among African Americans, and will develop a blueprint for research with specific recommendations for future work;2) determine how existing data or new follow-up data from large, ethnically diverse cohorts of children, young and middle-aged adults, and older persons can be used to address critical research questions in cognitive aging among African Americans;and 3) disseminate recommendations about how to increase numbers of African Americans enrolled in current or planned studies of cognitive aging, by leveraging resources already created by RCMARs and other NIH-funded studies that have been successful with minority recruitment, and integration of community-based participatory research (CBPR).

Public Health Relevance

Prior studies show that African Americans have higher prevalence and incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia as compared with non-Hispanic Whites. However, our understanding of the reasons for this disparity, risk factors for cognitive impairment, and early markers of future decline among African Americans has lagged behind our understanding of these factors among Whites. The proposed scientific meeting will address this gap in knowledge using an interdisciplinary approach, and is timely given the rapid population growth of older African Americans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Conference (R13)
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Study Section
National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
Program Officer
King, Jonathan W
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Tangney, Christy C; Li, Hong; Wang, Yamin et al. (2014) Relation of DASH- and Mediterranean-like dietary patterns to cognitive decline in older persons. Neurology 83:1410-6