Fifteen Years of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study: progress and observations from 2,359 older adults spanning the spectrum from cognitive normality to Alzheimer's disease

Christopher Fowler, Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith, Sabine Bird, Julia Bomke, Pierrick Bourgeat, Belinda M. Brown, Samantha C. Burnham, Ashley I. Bush, Carolyn Chadunow, Steven Collins, James Doecke, Vincent Doré, Kathryn A. Ellis, Lis Evered, Amir Fazlollahi, Jurgen Fripp, Samantha L. Gardener, Simon Gibson, Robert Grenfell, Elise HarrisonRichard Head, Liang Jin, Adrian Kamer, Fiona Lamb, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Simon M. Laws, Qiao Xin Li, Lucy Lim, Yen Ying Lim, Andrea Louey, S. Lance MacAulay, Lucy MacKintosh, Ralph N. Martins, Paul Maruff, Colin L. Masters*, Simon McBride, Lidija Milicic, Madeline Peretti, Kelly Pertile, Tenielle Porter, Morgan Radler, Alan Rembach, Joanne Robertson, Mark Rodrigues, Christopher C. Rowe, Rebecca Rumble, Olivier Salvado, Greg Savage, Brendan Silbert, Magdalene Soh, Hamid R. Sohrabi, Kevin Taddei, Tania Taddei, Christine Thai, Brett Trounson, Regan Tyrrell, Michael Vacher, Shiji Varghese, Victor L. Villemagne, Michael Weinborn, Michael Woodward, Ying Xia, David Ames, AIBL

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: The Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Study commenced in 2006 as a prospective study of 1,112 individuals (768 cognitively normal (CN), 133 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 211 with Alzheimer's disease dementia (AD)) as an 'Inception cohort' who underwent detailed assessments every 18 months. Over the past decade, an additional 1247 subjects have been added as an 'Enrichment cohort' (as of 10 April 2019). 

Objective: Here we provide an overview of these Inception and Enrichment cohorts of more than 8,500 person-years of investigation. 

Methods: Participants underwent reassessment every 18 months including comprehensive cognitive testing, neuroimaging (magnetic resonance imaging, MRI; positron emission tomography, PET), biofluid biomarkers and lifestyle evaluations. 

Results: AIBL has made major contributions to the understanding of the natural history of AD, with cognitive and biological definitions of its three major stages: preclinical, prodromal and clinical. Early deployment of Aβ-amyloid and tau molecular PET imaging and the development of more sensitive and specific blood tests have facilitated the assessment of genetic and environmental factors which affect age at onset and rates of progression. 

Conclusion: This fifteen-year study provides a large database of highly characterized individuals with longitudinal cognitive, imaging and lifestyle data and biofluid collections, to aid in the development of interventions to delay onset, prevent or treat AD. Harmonization with similar large longitudinal cohort studies is underway to further these aims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-468
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's disease reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 - The authors. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Aβ-amyloid imaging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • biomarkers
  • cognition
  • cohort study
  • lifestyle
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • observational longitudinal
  • preclinical Alzheimer's disease
  • prodromal Alzheimer's disease


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