The long-term objective of the Rush Memory and Aging Project is to identify the postmortem indices linking genetic and environmental risk factors to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The overall study design involves a detailed assessment of risk factors for AD in older persons without known dementia who agree to annual clinical evaluation and organ donation at the time of death. In contrast to other clinical-pathologic studies which are conducted on special populations, the Rush Memory and Aging Project enrolled a cohort with much greater diversity in terms of educational attainment, in addition to gender, race, and ethnicity. From September of 1997 through April of 2005, more than 1,000 older persons without known dementia from more than 30 residential facilities across the Chicago metropolitan area agreed to participate. Their mean age was 81 years, about a third had 12 or fewer years of education, a third were men, and about 10% were members of a racial or ethnic minority group. More than 950 already have completed their baseline clinical evaluation.
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