Neuropathologic differences by race from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center

Neill R. Graff-Radford, Lilah M. Besser, Julia E. Crook, Walter A. Kukull, Dennis W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Introduction Compared to Caucasians, African Americans (AAs) have higher dementia prevalence, different genetic markers, and higher vascular risk factors. However, pathologic underpinnings are unknown. Methods We used neuropathologic and clinical data on 110 AA and 2500 Caucasians who were demented before death. The groups were compared regarding demographics, cognition, apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, comorbidities, and clinical and neuropathologic characteristics. Results AA and Caucasians differed in their demographics, cognition at the last visit before death, APOE genotype, presence of hypertension, primary clinical diagnoses, and AD, cerebrovascular disease (CVD), and other neuropathologies such as Lewy body disease (LBD). Discussion AD, LBD, and CVD pathology were more common and TDP and frontotemporal lobar degeneration-tau less common in AA than in Caucasians. APOE accounted for most of the AD neuropathologic differences. If replicated, the observed differences in underlying neuropathology by race will be important for public health policy and recruitment for and interpreting of clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • African American
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Brain autopsy
  • Dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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