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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science






Epidemiology of Dementia


Epidemiology of Dementia

The Program in Epidemiology of Dementia at DukeUniversityMedicalCenter conducts research on the prevalence and incidence of dementia, along with the genetic and non-genetic causes of cognitive decline and dementia.  Currently, there are two principle studies in the program, the Duke Twins Study of Memory in Aging and the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS).  The research aims to discover new information about memory and the aging process. 

Links and Resources

 National Institute of Aging/National Institutes of Health

 Alzheimer's Association

 Alzheimer's Disease Education & Referral Center

American Health Assistance Foundation

Duke University Bryan Center ADRC: 

 Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development

Duke University 
Department of Psychiatry

University of Michigan 
Institute for Social Research

University of Michigan
Health and Retirement Study

Primary Studies

Duke Twins Study of Memory in Aging

The Duke Twins Study of Memory in Aging conducts research on the genetic and non-genetic causes of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.  The research has been funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a federal program dedicated to improving the health of older Americans, and the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF), an organization that funds scientific research on age-related diseases, educates the public about these diseases, and provides emergency financial assistance to Alzheimer's disease patients and their caregivers.  The Duke Twins Study began in 1989 and has primarily focused on the study of cognitive changes within aging twin pairs.   This research includes the study of twin pairs in which one or both twins have Alzheimer’s disease. 

Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS)

The Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a federal program dedicated to improving the health of older Americans.  Scientists from the University of Michigan and other academic institutions nationwide are collaborating with researchers from DukeUniversityMedicalCenter to conduct the research.  The goal is to assess cognitive changes and dementia in detail in a subset of participants in the ongoing Health Retirement Study.  This data will then be used to investigate what factors influence how memory changes as we age.  The study also investigates how memory changes affect older Americans’ need for assistance from families and agencies. 

"The ongoing Aging, Demographic, and Memory Study (ADAMS) has been designed to assess dementia and AD among Americans, the burden on caregivers, the economic cost of dementia to families and to society, and the burden of dementia over the course of the illness." 
Testimony by Richard J. Hodes, MD, Director, National Institute on Aging, before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Hearing on Alzheimer's Disease, April 30, 2002

In the News: 

 Genes and Environment Affect Alzheimer's Risk

 Biology is Not Always Destiny in Alzheimer's, Says New Twins Data

For general information, please Contact Dept: 919-682-6722 

For help with website: Roberta Moore at


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