Personal lifestyle changes boost cognition by 74% in people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease
A small pilot study suggests that personalized interventions have strong potential to enhance cognitive health in older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is among the most feared diseases affecting older adults, and it’s clear why. Globally, tens of millions of people live with dementia, and there are limited effective treatments.
So, Christine Yaffe, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues took a new approach.
“This is the first personalized intervention, focusing on multiple domains of cognition, where risk factor targets depend on the participant’s risk profile, preferences, and priorities,” Yaffe explains.
The researchers provided personalized, personalized training to 82 participants in the experimental group.
This involves each volunteer working with a coach to set goals based on risk factors and tailoring activities to fit each individual’s abilities, interests and preferences across diet, medications, exercise, social and psychological programs, sleep and education.
From food logging to fitness trackers, from video chats to volunteer work, from medication to mindfulness, each program had many methods available.
Another 90 participants in the control group were mailed educational materials every three months. This information included information on the same dementia risk-reducing factors targeted by the trial group.
The volunteers were predominantly white, between 70 and 89 years of age, and had at least two of eight risk factors for dementia: poor sleep, depression, social isolation, smoking, prescription medications linked to cognitive decline, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical frailty. . Inactivity.
Over the course of two years, the experiment group continued its ad hoc activities. Their progress was tracked and motivational barriers were addressed through weekly case review recommendations from clinical support teams.
As a result, the treatment group saw an increase in their cognitive and physiological tests, amounting to a 74% improvement compared to participants in the control group.
Perhaps best of all, most participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with the interventions. While knowing what you need to do is one thing, being able to stick with it is perhaps the most challenging aspect of lifestyle changes, as anyone who has tried to diet or kick a bad habit will find all too familiar.
Since this is a very small and early clinical trial, there are several caveats and limitations.
For starters, the number of participants was too low to detect changes in risk factors in individuals. The team also notes that there are practical challenges to implementing such respective treatments in broader communities, especially in the United States.
They pointed out that “the experiment was conducted in one location and within an integrated health care system, which differs from the number of American patients receiving health care.”
But the strength of the group-level findings suggests that this tactic deserves further study.
“We hope that in the future, treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will be like the management of cardiovascular disease, with a combination of risk reduction and specific medications that target disease mechanisms,” Yaffe concludes.
This research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.