Focus On Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID)

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Decades of research have shown a strong link between cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, including stroke, and subsequent cognitive impairment and dementia. Moreover, cerebrovascular disease is exceedingly common in the elderly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment & dementia (VCID) encompasses all types of cerebrovascular cardiovascular disease-related cognitive decline. Because of the proven ability to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and hypertension, the NIH has designated VCID as a critical research area. A significant challenge in VCID research, one that the NINDS is helping to overcome, is that expertise needed to investigate VCID effectively has historically been separated among traditional fields of science and clinical practice (e.g., stroke versus Alzheimer's disease), a separation that is reinforced by disciplinary boundaries at multiple levels including in clincial practices, academic departments, professional societies, and funding agencies. To learn more read: Science of Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (VCID): A Framework for Advancing Research Priorities in the Cerebrovascular Biology of Cognitive Decline.

The NINDS supports a number of projects covering all aspects of VCID research. Some of our other bigger initiatives are listed here:

MarkVCID Biomarker Development and Validation Consortium

To better predict, study, and diagnose small vessel disease in the brain and its role in VCID, the National Institutes of Health has launched MarkVCID, a national consortium designed to accelerate the development of new and existing biomarkers for small vessel VCID. The overall goal of the consortium is to deliver high-quality biomarkers ready for use in clinical trials aimed at generating scientific breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of VCID

M2OVE AD Consortium

NINDS supports the NIA M2OVE AD Consortium, which seeks to better understand how the vascular system may be involved in the onset and progression of clinical Alzheimer's disease.

Mind Your Risks®

Mind Your Risks® is a public health campaign from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The campaign seeks to educate people with high blood pressure about the importance of controlling blood pressure to reduce the risk of having a stroke and possibly developing dementia later in life.

Trans-NIH VCID Cohorts Analysis

In 2015, NIH staff undertook an effort to identify funded cohort studies with potential for focused investigation of vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia. An overview of the group’s work and results of the assessment can be found here: 

NIH Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories

Research/Disease Areas* FY 2019
FY 2020
FY 2021
FY 2022
Vascular Cognitive Impairment/Dementia $299 $362 $368 $382

*Dollars in millions and rounded

To learn more about this NIH Investment, please visit the Categorical Spending site and enter "Vascular Cognitive Impairment/Dementia".

Proceedings & Outcomes

VCID Milestones in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease

The 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias (ADRD) Summit was hosted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The 2016 ADRD Summit was mandated by the National Plan to address Alzheimer’s Disease as a follow-up to the 2013 ADRD Summit. The Summit set research priorities for VCID research, including:

Focus Area 1: Basic Mechanisms and Experimental Models

1. Develop next-generation experimental models and translational imaging methods for VCID. Establish new animal models that: (i) reproduce small vessel disease and other key pathogenic processes thought to result in cognitive impairment; (ii) are easily applicable to both VCID and AD research for advances in mixed etiology dementias; (iii) address vascular contributions to dementia via both white matter and grey matter or (iv) include genetic and acquired conditions that are associated with VCID.

2. Encourage basic science research that investigates the impact of aging, AD pathology, and genes on peri- and para-vascular clearance mechanisms, the NVU, and cerebrovascular function.

3. Encourage basic science research that investigates the impact of cerebrovascular risk factors/genes and atherosclerosis on AD-related neurodegeneration.

Focus Area 2: Human-Based Studies

1. Develop and validate longitudinally tracked noninvasive markers of key vascular processes related to cognitive and neurologic impairment.

2. Determine interrelationships (cross-sectional and longitudinal) among aging, cerebrovascular disease and risk factors, resilience factors, genetic variants, amyloid, tau, and neurodegeneration.

3. Identify lifestyle and vascular interventions to treat, prevent, or postpone VCID.



Resources and Tools


Rod Corriveau | Program Director

Funding Opportunities 

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Funding Opportunities

News & Events

New and Upcoming Opportunities for Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias (ADRD) Research in Fiscal Year 2019

A new culprit tangles with ApoE4 in Alzheimer’s disease

Designer compound may untangle damage leading to some dementias

ADRD Summit 2022

Alzheimer's Association International Conference

NAPA Council



Related Topics 

The Dementias Information Page