Florida Autopsied Multi-Ethnic (FLAME) Cohort
The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease dementia is 1 1/2 times greater in Hispanic-Americans compared with European-Americans (white), and twice as high in African-Americans (black). Intriguingly, Dr. Murray's Translational Neuropathology Lab has found that Hispanic-Americans live longer with the disease, suggesting that there may be unknown protective factors. With one of the largest series of autopsy-confirmed Hispanic decedents having a neuropathologic diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (n=85), the research team is investigating neurobiologic changes that may account for differences in survival. Using sophisticated technology to measure Alzheimer-related changes to proteins, researchers will be able to examine biological factors that may differ between Hispanic decedents and white decedents.
The Translational Neuropathology Lab is also exploring comparisons with black decedents with Alzheimer's disease in a smaller cohort that is available (n=31). With a much larger cohort of white decedents (n=2651), the research team will be able to match case-to-case for important factors, such as age at death, sex and education. Ongoing efforts are underway to carefully review clinical history for measures of cognitive reserve by examining evidence of bilingualism and converting occupation to a job level score (as recommended by statistics from the Department of Labor). These efforts will provide one of the first translational neuropathology studies to specifically examine survival of Hispanic-Americans with AD.