ELSA has been funded by the National Institute on Aging in the US to enhance exposure measures relevant to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and related dementias (ADRD). The project is in two parts:
1) Proteomic profiling of the ELSA cohort
The relationship between protein levels and cognitive decline and the development of dementia will, in conjunction with existing genome-wide assessments and existing biomarkers, provide a powerful tool for identifying novel pathways that could be of value as future drug targets. We will use a proteomic platform that is being applied in a subsample of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), as well as in the National Child Development Study (NCDS) 1958 birth cohort in the UK. The use of common tools will enable cross-cohort analysis in the future and will support the replicability of findings.
2) Enhancement of the life history data in ELSA
We plan to offer a full life history assessment to new ELSA participants, while adding some more detailed questions for those who previously completed the module in 2007. We will collect information about places of residence, work and earnings, partners and family, migration, health, and health behaviours through the life course, together with childhood living conditions and childhood adversity. The data will allow future analyses of issues such as cognitive stimulation during work, adult trauma, and early adversity in relation to AD/ADRD risk, while providing the platform for linkage with life course physical and chemical exposures. We will also address the issue of the validity of retrospective measures of life history by comparisons with the prospective data collected in the NCDS 1958 birth cohort, to obtain an accurate picture of the robustness of retrospective accounts of earlier life experiences.