The Religious Orders Study continues to build on its past successes and continues recruiting and performing annual evaluations on older members of Catholic Religious Communities without dementia with an emphasis on enrolling African American and Hispanic Catholic clergy. More than 1000 participants from about 40 groups from across the United States have enrolled. The overall follow-up rate exceeds 95% and the autopsy rate exceeds 90%.
More than 1000 older nuns, priests, and brothers, from more than 40 groups in 12 states already participate in the Study. The study involves members of religious groups because participation is primarily an act of altruism and religious persons have demonstrated a willingness to participate in projects which primarily benefit others, including projects requiring organ donation.
Researchers are trying to discover exactly what changes in the brain are responsible for memory and mobility problems. In some diseases, we can take pictures of the pathology or use other means of identifying the severity of the pathology during life. Because many of the changes in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease cannot currently be examined while a person is alive, participants in such a study must agree to brain donation after death.
The Religious Orders Study continues to recruit new participants from existing facilities.