Focus Areas

The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging has enrolled more than 5,000 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, without a previous diagnosis of dementia in their medical record who were 30 to 89 years old at the time of enrollment. About 3,100 people are active participants in the study.

With the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, the study actively follows and examines yearly about 600 people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia related to Alzheimer's disease, cerebrovascular disease, Lewy body disease and frontotemporal degeneration.

All study participants undergo an extensive clinical evaluation to determine whether they have mild cognitive impairment or dementia or are cognitively normal at the time of enrollment. They are evaluated about every 15 to 30 months to determine if they have developed new onset of mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

About 50% to 60% of participants consent to brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using 11C Pittsburgh compound-B 18F-AV-1451 tau and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose to assess cerebrovascular disease, neurodegeneration, amyloid deposition and brain metabolism. About 25% consent to undergo a lumbar puncture to measure amyloid and tau metabolites in cerebrospinal fluid.

Investigators from across Mayo Clinic contribute to the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging with research focused on various aspects of aging, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Research area Faculty
Biomarker development
  • Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D.
Cerebrospinal fluid
Cerebrovascular disease
Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory markers and dietary factors
Genetic markers Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D.
Imaging — MRI and PET
Mild cognitive impairment characterization
PET imaging, amyloid and tau imaging
REM sleep behavior disorders and non-Alzheimer's dementias Bradley F. Boeve, M.D.
Tau protein Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D.

Research related to the study has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications and extensive national and international collaborations.