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Cohort Acronym

Cohort type
General population-based cohort

Alzheimer's disease, Dementia (unclassified), Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Subjective memory complaints (SMC) or subjective cognitive decline (SCD)

Participant type
No diagnosis

Recruitment Period 1999 
Sample size at start or planned sample size if still recruiting 75000  
Estimated Current Sample Size 0 to 4,999 
Age at Recruitment >20   
Gender Male and Female 

The PATH Through Life project is a 20 year longitudinal cohort study of 7,485 young (aged 20-24 at baseline), midlife (aged 40-44 at baseline) and older (aged 60-64 at baseline) adults randomly sampled from the electoral roll of the Australian Capital Territory and the nearby city of Queanbeyan.
The original aims of the project are outlined below.

  • To delineate the course of depression, anxiety, substance use and cognitive ability with increasing age across the adult life span.
  • To identify environmental risk, genetic risk and protective factors influencing individual differences in the course of these characteristics.
  • To investigate interrelationships over time between the three domains of: depression and anxiety, substance use, and cognitive ability and dementia.
  • Data collection has occurred at four intervals (4 waves), at approximately four year intervals with a good participant retention rate. The fifth wave of data collection is commencing in 2017.
    Several design features of the PATH project contribute to its unique standing among population based longitudinal cohort studies.
  • Obtaining measures of genetic, biological (including MRI), psychosocial and lifestyle risk and protective factors for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Use of a narrow age cohort design with longitudinal follow ups as an optimal means of separating age and cohort effects.
  • Assessment of participants across the full adult lifespan, permitting investigation of developmentally significant, but under studied periods such as midlife
  • Recruitment and follow up of a young-old population, providing important pre-clinical data for studying the development of age related changes in memory and cognition.

Last update – 12/01/2017

Country Australia 
Contact details
Institution name The Australian National University 
Principal Investiator (PI) Professor Kaarin Anstey 
Contact email [email protected] 
Contact phone number +61 2 6125 8410 
Address Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing
The Australian National University
Florey, Building 54, Mills Road, Acton
ACT 2601 Australia 
Funders (Core support) National Health and Medical Research Council 

Variables Collected

Brain related measures: Behaviour, Cognitive function, Mental health, Neurological
Funtional rating: Individual physiological, Individual psychological
Anthropometric: Blood pressure, Height, Waist circumference, Weight
Physical: Cardiovascular, Hearing and Vision, Musculoskeletal, Reproductive, Respiratory
Biological samples: Blood, Other
Genotyping: Gene screening
Brain imaging: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Brain banking: N/A
Lifestyle: Alcohol, Dietary habits, Physical activity, Smoking
Socio-economic: Education, Ethnic group, Family circumstances, Housing and accommodation, Income and finances, Informal support, Marital status, Occupation and employment, Unpaid care
Health service utilisation: Formal health and social care service utilisation including private care
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