The Religious Orders Study is a collaborative study with Rush and a number of other medical centers across the country. The study includes the participation of more than 1,100 older religious clergy (nuns, priests and brothers) who have agreed to medical and psychological evaluation each year and brain donation after death. Researchers are using the information from the study to discover what changes in the brain are responsible for memory and movement problems. The study also looks closely at the transition from normal functioning of the aging brain to the mild cognitive impairment that can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Funding for the Religious Orders Study by the National Institute on Aging began July 1993. Current funding will continue through June 2016. By that time, the Religious Orders Study will have up to 22 years of clinical data on more than 1,100 people and brain tissue from over 350 people. This rich and diverse resource will allow the Study to continue supporting numerous investigators. It will also offer the Alzheimer’s disease research community new opportunities to use clinical pathologic studies in novel ways to understand the complex relation between cognitive decline and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.
The Religious Orders Study continues to recruit new participants from existing facilities.