2023/12/25 Personalized Health and Lifestyle Interventions Show Promise in Delaying Memory Loss in Older Adults

A recent two-year study led by researchers from the University of California - San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente Washington reveals promising results for personalized health and lifestyle interventions in delaying memory loss among older adults at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. Published in JAMA Internal Medicine on November 27, 2023, the Systematic Multi-domain Alzheimer's Risk Reduction Trial (SMARRT) involved 172 participants aged 70 to 89, with at least two of eight identified risk factors for dementia.
Half of the participants received personalized coaching targeting specific risk factors such as uncontrolled diabetes, physical inactivity, and hypertension. Unlike previous one-size-fits-all approaches, this study marked a significant departure by tailoring interventions to individual profiles, preferences, and priorities. The results showed a 74% improvement in cognitive testing for the intervention group compared to the non-intervention group. Additionally, there were notable improvements in risk factors (approximately 145%) and quality of life (8%).
Even amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, participants in the intervention group exhibited better cognitive function and fewer risk factors compared to their non-intervention counterparts. The study underscores the motivation of older adults to make lifestyle changes to mitigate dementia risk, as evidenced by an earlier survey involving 600 participants.
The intervention involved participants meeting with a nurse and health coach to set and review personalized goals every few months, ranging from managing hypertension to achieving daily step counts. Unlike costly anti-amyloid medications, this risk-reduction program proved cost-effective, with no strict eligibility criteria or extensive monitoring for side effects.
The study's findings suggest a promising future for personalized interventions in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease in at-risk older adults, providing a valuable foundation for further research in this critical area of healthcare.