The burden of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and AD-related dementias (ADRD) is increasing nationally and globally, with disproportionate impacts on lower-income, lower education and systematically marginalised older adults. Presence of inequalities in neighbourhood factors (eg, social context, physical and built environments) may affect risk of cognitive decline and be key for intervening on AD/ADRD disparities at the population level. However, existing studies are limited by a dearth of longitudinal, detailed neighbourhood measures linked to rich, prospective cohort data. Our main objective is to identify patterns of neighbourhood change related to prevalence of-and disparities in-cognitive decline and dementia.
METHODS AND ANALYSES
We describe the process of collecting, processing and linking extensive neighbourhood data to the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), creating a 25+ years dataset. Within the MESA parent study, the MESA Neighborhoods and Aging cohort study will characterise dynamic, longitudinal neighbourhood social and built environment variables relevant to cognition for residential addresses of MESA participants. This includes administering new surveys, expanding residential address histories, calculating new measures derived from spatial data and implementing novel deep learning algorithms on street-level imagery. Applying novel statistical techniques, we will examine associations of neighbourhood environmental characteristics with cognition and clinically relevant AD/ADRD outcomes. We will investigate determinants of disparities in outcomes by socioeconomic position and race/ethnicity and assess the contribution of neighbourhood environments to these disparities. This project will provide new evidence about pathways between neighbourhood environments and cognitive outcomes, with implications for policies to support healthy ageing.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION
This project was approved by the University of Washington and Drexel University Institutional Review Boards (protocols #00009029 and #00014523, and #180900605). Data will be distributed through the MESA Coordinating Center. Findings will be disseminated in peer-reviewed scientific journals, briefs, presentations and on the participant website.