Adult Changes in Thought Study

Life Course Core

To better understand and prevent age-related dementia, we need to adopt a perspective that examines exposures along the life course, including social determinants of health and health-related events. To this end, the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study uses a life course approach to anchor our science and maximize its value to the field. This approach seeks to identify when social and health exposures have the greatest impacts on cognitive trajectories and how accumulation of exposures and interventions can influence cognition and development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias over time.

By efficiently building on the extensive resources of ACT as a long-standing longitudinal cohort study set in a health care delivery system, the Life Course Core supports scientific inquiry to enhance our understanding of aging, especially brain aging. The interdisciplinary team has expertise in life course epidemiology, the built environment, neuroscience, health policy, and econometrics, which will support the life course framework in all projects and activities. This collection of disciplinary perspectives will help the team collect and utilize a broad array of data elements and consider the relationships among new data with links to existing ACT data.


Sarah Tom, PhD

Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Mailman School of Public Health


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Andrea LaCroix, PhD

University of California, San Diego
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

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