Cache County Study on Memory Health and Aging


The Cache County Study on Memory Health and Aging is a collaborative group of studies with researchers at Utah State University, Duke University Medical Center and The Johns Hopkins University, conducted in Cache County, Utah. The study is designed to examine genetic and environmental factors associated with risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Started in 1995, the study enrolled 5,092 permanent residents of the county (90%), including approximately 800 individuals aged 85 years and older. The elderly of Cache County have a longer life expectancy, higher educational attainment, and lower incidence of chronic disease (which can complicate the diagnosis of dementias) than other similar populations. Periodic “waves” of visits are conducted approximately every three years. The project investigated three important assumptions: (1) certain genes may influence the development of Alzheimer dementia if people live to extreme old age, (2) Alzheimer dementia has a maximum occurrence near age 80 and then decreases, and (3) specific environmental factors may reduce the incidence of Alzheimer dementia before the age of 85. Now with over ten years of longitudinal follow-up on the cohort, the focus has recently expanded to include the study of early forms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the exploration of factors that are predictive of which individuals with MCI will develop dementia and which individuals will not, with particular emphasis on modifiable lifestyle factors.