THE ATHEROSCLEROSIS RISK IN COMMUNITIES (ARIC) STUDY
The ARIC Study is an epidemiological research study of the major factors contributing to the occurrence and trend of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged adults in the United States. 15,792 persons were first examined in 1987-89 and subsequently in 1990-92, 1993-95, 1996-98, and 2004-06. Included in the study were men and women 45-64 years of age, both African American and Caucasian, from four communities in the United States.
Dementia has a high prevalence in the United States, particularly in African Americans. As the population ages, its medical care costs will rise sharply. While Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia diagnosed clinically, at autopsy most Alzheimer’s cases also have vascular lesions which may affect progression of the disease and certainly contribute to the cognitive impairment. Ocular Epidemiology’s role in the ARIC Neurocognitive Study will be to add information about microvascular disease, which is often clinically inapparent but has been underestimated in its contribution to dementia and mild cognitive impairment. The evaluation of the vessels in the retina of the eye, or “vessel measurement grading”, is done using custom designed software and grading protocols developed by and for the Ocular Epidemiology Research Group. The ARIC-NCS study will be the 6th examination phase of the ARIC. The study added neurocognitive testing and brain imaging to a planned re-examination of ARIC cohort participants between 2011 and 2013.