November marks a significant scientific milestone for the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP) study at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. It is the 20th anniversary of a groundbreaking study that is advancing the field of Alzheimer’s research here in Wisconsin and internationally.

The study began with one participant in Nov. 2001 in Madison, Wisconsin. Twenty years later, with more than 1,700 research participants and two decades of data collection, it has become the largest family history study of Alzheimer’s disease in the world.

The study follows participants, 70% with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, over time to learn about biological, health and lifestyle factors that might influence the disease. Every two years, participants come in for memory testing, blood draws, interviews and a subgroup undergo brain imaging and spinal fluid tests to help researchers develop a comprehensive data set that includes cognition, lifestyle, molecules (biomarkers) associated with Alzheimer’s disease, genetic analysis and metabolism information. These regular touchpoints are important because they can help researchers understand patterns that might be related to disease development or prevention long before symptoms are apparent.

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