Current Studies

3d rendering of brain in blues and purples

IDEAS — Imaging Dementia - Evidence for Amyloid Scanning Study
The Imaging Dementia—Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) Study will determine the clinical usefulness on patient-oriented outcomes of a brain positron emission tomography (PET) scan that detects amyloid plaques, a core feature of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to assessing the impact of amyloid PET on management of patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia of uncertain cause, the study will compare medical outcomes for study participants with matched patients not in the study. Dr. Whitmer is one of the PIs for IDEAS and is leading analyses on medical outcomes in IDEAS.


LifeAfter90 is an NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded longitudinal cohort study enrolling 800 individuals age 90 or older.  Those  aged 90+ are the fastest-growing segment of the elderly population in the US, yet there is an enormous dearth of information on mild cognitive impairment and age-associated dementias particularly in non-whites and those from lower socioeconomic classes in this age group. The objectives of LifeAFter90 are to determine if in those aged 90+ there are ethnoracial differences in the incidence of mild cognitive impairment and dementia, to quantify mid- and late-life risk and protective factors for these conditions, and to understand the burden of cerebral and brain pathologies in a multiethnic cohort of individuals aged 90+.


KHANDLE — Kaiser Healthy Aging and Diverse Life Experiences Study
KHANDLE is an NIH National Institute on Aging-funded longitudinal cohort study of the enthoracial epidemiology of dementia in 1600 individuals aged 65+ (25% Black, 25% Asian, 25% Latino, 25% White). Goals of KHANDLE are to define ethnic disparities in dementia incidence and to advance understanding of such disparities by assessing early and midlife risk factors for cognitive impairment and MRI and PET markers of brain injury.


SOLID — Study of Longevity in Diabetes
SOLID is an NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded cohort study of diabetes and aging. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are living longer than ever before, yet very little is known about how this group can age successfully. The goal of this study is to characterize cognitive and physical aging, and predictors of successful aging and longevity in a cohort of 800 elderly individuals with Type 1 diabetes, 200 with Type 2 diabetes and 200 without diabetes.


STAR — Study of Healthy Aging in African Americans
STAR is a NIH National Institue on Aging (NIA)-funded longitudinal cohort study of lifecourse vascular risk and brain aging in 750 African-Americans aged 50 and older. Goals are to understand the trajectory of normal cognitive aging from midlife to late life, burden of cognitive impairment, and long-term contributions of vascular disease on brain aging in African-Americans, an understudied and rapidly expanding segment of the elderly population at higher risk for dementia.


The Alzheimer’s Association U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) is a two-year clinical trial to evaluate whether lifestyle interventions that simultaneously target many risk factors protect cognitive function in older adults who are at increased risk for cognitive decline. U.S. POINTER is the first such study to be conducted in a large group of Americans across the United States and  Dr. Whitmer is PI of the second Vanguard site for US POINTER which will be conducted at UC Davis.


World Wide Fingers
The FINGER trial is the first randomized controlled trial showing that it is possible to prevent cognitive decline using a multi-domain lifestyle intervention among older at-risk individuals. The results highlighted the value of addressing multiple dementia risk factors as a strategy to protect brain health, and promote overall health and functioning.