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AAIC 2022 | Modifiable dementia risk factors associated with higher CSF tau and poorer cognition in middle age

Lisa Bransby, BAppSci (Psych) (Hons), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, introduces work as part of the Healthy Brain Project to investigate associations between modifiable dementia risk factors with amyloid beta (Aβ), tau, and cognition in cognitively unimpaired middle-aged adults. The Healthy Brain Project is a fully online study with over 7000 healthy middle-aged adults, 82 of which participated in a biomarker study involving lumber punctures, MRIs, cognitive assessments, and blood assessments. It was observed that having multi-domain modifiable dementia risk factors was associated with higher tau levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and worse cognition than participants with very few or no modifiable dementia risk factors. No differences in Aβ levels were observed, which is possibly due to a lack of statistical power as a consequence of the small sample size. Equally, this could suggest that modifiable dementia risk factors may increase risk through neurodegenerative processes non-specific to Alzheimer’s disease, such as increased cerebrovascular burden. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.