Age is the greatest risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease. While we can’t reverse the clock, we may be able take steps to prevent or delay progression of the disease.
That’s the point of a new study being conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association. The organization announced its plans for a $20 million lifestyle intervention trial to prevent cognitive decline in the U.S. at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2017) in London.
Dubbed US Pointer (PrOtect through a lifestyle INTErvention to Reduce Risk), researchers plan to recruit 2,500 Americans between ages 60 and 79 who have no evidence of dementia but have some risk factors for developing the condition. Those risk factors include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of dementia.
Over the course of the study, half of the participants will participate in a series of sessions aimed at improving their physical fitness, nutrition, cognition, and heart health. The other participants will receive health education and support through in-person group meetings on health- and aging-related topics, as well as annual feedback on laboratory tests.
The study is based on a large-scale two-year study in Finland, called the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability, or FINGER Study.
“As of now, there are no approved medications that have produced results similar to the FINGER Study. There is a pressing need to test the effectiveness of a multicomponent lifestyle intervention in larger and more diverse populations, such as the United States,” said Laura Baker, PhD, of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston- Salem, North Carolina and co-principal investigator on the U.S. trial in the announcement. “The lifestyle intervention in US POINTER is an important multi-dimensional strategy to protect brain health and potentially reduce risk of dementia.”
“We now can effectively prevent and treat heart disease with a combination of drugs and lifestyle. The same is true with some cancers; the same with HIV/AIDS. The same may also be true for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the not too distant future,” said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer.
“We must test all options to treat and prevent this horrible disease. We must find the answers for the millions dying with Alzheimer’s and their families, and the tens of millions more who will become affected if we do not act now,” said Carillo. “The Alzheimer’s Association is extremely proud to launch this clinical trial with our scientific partners.”
Filed Under: Drug Discovery