Duke University is partnering with the North Carolina Research Campus in an expansion of an Alzheimer’s disease study that aims to find new ways to predict and treat the disease.

Research initially began in 2007 to study disease patterns over the long term for patients in the city of Kannapolis, North Carolina, where the N.C. Research Campus is based, as well as surrounding Cabarrus County. Researchers are expanding the “Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis” or MURDOCK study to include participants 55 and older who have not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and live in outlying areas surrounding Cabarrus County.

The MURDOCK data will be combined with data gathered from a similar study by Duke’s Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Durham. Data from the studies will be used to try to understand which factors accelerate or delay the cognitive changes people often experience as they get older. Researchers will also gather data for research into biomarkers that may indicate Alzheimer’s disease in preparation for a long-term study that could support clinical trials studying the disease.

“It’s the only study I’m aware of that is looking at a general population and trying to statistically cover all aspects of the population by looking at things in a genomic and proteomic way,” Dr. Robert Kinney, vice president of education for Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast in Concord, North Carolina and a member of the MURDOCK Study Healthcare Advisory Board said in a statement. “The value is to find ways to predict disease earlier and treat disease earlier.”

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