Washington Heights-Inwood Community Aging Project (WHICAP)
About the Washington Heights-Inwood Community Aging Project (WHICAP) at Columbia University Medical Center
The Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Inwood Community Aging Project (WHICAP) is a community-based longitudinal study of aging and dementia among elderly, urban-dwelling residents. The project began enrolling patients in 1989 and has followed more than 5,900 residents over 65 years of age. The WHICAP study has enabled researchers to capture detailed information about the onset of dementia and how symptoms develop over time. It has yielded comprehensive data on the rates of, and risk factors for, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias among African-Americans, Caribbean Hispanics, and Caucasians living in these Northern Manhattan communities. WHICAP investigators have identified genetic, environmental, and health-related risk factors of disease and predictors of disease progression by collecting longitudinal data on cognitive performance, emotional health, independence in daily activities, blood pressure, anthropometric measures, cardiovascular status, metabolic disorders, neurodegeneration, and selected biomarkers in this elderly, multi-ethnic cohort. Blood and imaging biomarkers for late-onset dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and cognitive decline have been studied to identify early indicators of risk that might serve as points of intervention to delay or prevent onset of dementia. A central finding is that the rates of disease and frequency of disease risk factors vary across ethnic groups. WHICAP is run by a multidisciplinary team led by Richard Mayeux, MD, MS, professor, chair of neurology, co-director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, and director of the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Medical Center, and is supported by a grant (R01AG0372) from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.