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2016 Grants - Denny
Multidimensional Behavioral Intervention for Those at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
Katherine Denny, Ph.D.
University of California Davis
2016 Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant (AARG)
Can a novel intervention that promotes a healthy lifestyle and improves everyday skills help slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease?
Research suggests that brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease likely start decades before clinical signs of memory impairment are evident. Studies by Katherine Denny, Ph.D., and colleagues have found that older adults with subtle difficulties in everyday function and memory abilities are at a greater risk for progressing toward Alzheimer’s disease. During this window of time, early interventions that support everyday function and engagement in healthy behaviors may help preserve brain function and prolong independence in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Katherine Denny, Ph.D., and colleagues will conduct a study using a novel multidimensional behavioral intervention that aims to slow cognitive decline and promote independence in people at risk Alzheimer’s disease. The study will include 120 ethnically diverse older adults who are experiencing subtle changes in memory and thinking but are still living independently. The intervention will consist of two parts (1) training in everyday skills that can compensate for memory impairment, such as the use of calendars, goal setting, and task lists and (2) engaging in activities that promote brain health such as exercise and intellectual stimulation. The researchers will examine if the intervention helps improve memory and everyday function and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety over a 6-month study period.
This research will determine whether a novel behavioral intervention can improve cognition and prolong independence in older adults at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If successful, these results could provide support for a larger clinical trial to determine if this intervention may be an inexpensive and safe form of therapy for preventing or delaying cognitive decline.