Brain development and deterioration across the lifespan are integral to the etiology of late-life neurodegenerative disease. Factors that influence the health of the adult brain remain to be elucidated and include risk factors, protective factors, and factors related to cognitive and brain reserve. To address this knowledge gap we designed a life-course study on brain health, which received funding through the EU ERC Programme under the name Origins of Alzheimer’s Disease Across the Life course (ORACLE) Study. The ORACLE Study is embedded within Generation R, a prospective population-based cohort study of children and their parents, and links this with the Rotterdam Study, a population-based study in middle-aged and elderly persons. The studies are based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Generation R focuses on child health from fetal life until adolescence with repeated in-person examinations, but has also included data collection on the children’s parents. The ORACLE Study aims to extend the parental data collection in nearly 2000 parents with extensive measures on brain health, including neuroimaging, cognitive testing and motor testing. Additionally, questionnaires on migraine, depressive symptoms, sleep, and neurological family history were completed. These data allow for the investigation of longitudinal influences on adult brain health as well as intergenerational designs involving children and parents. As a secondary focus, the sampling is enriched by mothers (n = 356) that suffered from hypertensive disorders during pregnancy in order to study brain health in this high-risk population. This article provides an overview of the rationale and the design of the ORACLE Study.

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European Journal of Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology

Lamballais, S., Adank, M., Hussainali, R.F. (Rowina F.), Schalekamp-Timmermans, S. (Sarah), Vernooij, M., Luik, A., … Ikram, A. (2020). Design and overview of the Origins of Alzheimer’s Disease Across the Life course (ORACLE) study. European Journal of Epidemiology. doi:10.1007/s10654-020-00696-3