New Alzheimer’s research looks at Lifestyle, not medication, to help prevent memory loss.
“The big question is can a healthy lifestyle protect memory in older adults,” said Dr. Stephen Salloway, director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, one of the principal investigators for the local arm of this study, known as U.S. POINTER (U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk).
This new research based on a study out of Finland.
“They found that a lifestyle intervention that included changing diet, increasing physical activity, doing some cognitive exercises and having a lot of social support all helped to reduce the risk of cognitive decline,” said Dr. Rena Wing, another principal investigator, and the director of the weight control and diabetes research center at The Miriam Hospital.
“This is a real Rhode Island, New England partnership,” said Salloway.
Which includes the local and regional Alzheimer’s Association chapters.
“We are going to have people on board called navigators,” said Donna McGowan, director of the Alzheimer’s Association, RI chapter who says they will be recruiting these navigators who will act as coaches for study participants.
“Everybody will be helped with lifestyle interventions but some people will be doing it more as self-guided, more on their own and some people have a more structured lifestyle program where we’re telling them more what to do,” said Wing.
“We will be monitoring and measuring the navigators’ work and they will be the counselors of encouragement to make sure people are staying with the program, not having any issues,” said McGowan.
“We’ve been focusing more on medications and developing new brain scans, so we’re really excited to branch out more into lifestyle,” added Salloway.
Rhode is one of five sites in the U.S. conducting this study. Nationally, they hope to enroll 2000 men and women. In Rhode Island, they hope to recruit at least 400 people between the ages of 60 and 79 with no memory problems, who do not exercise regularly.
There is a major emphasis on recruiting members of the minority community who have a higher risk for Alzheimer’s.