We Need More Research: Preventing Cognitive Decline

Caitlin Grzeskowiak

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM)  has released the report, “Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward” which found that current evidence does not support education campaigns encouraging the adoption of specific interventions to prevent mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.

The committee, chaired by Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Research!America board member, conducted an extensive scientific review to provide recommendations for public health messaging and future research.

Commissioned by the National Institute on Aging, the committee cited “encouraging although inconclusive” evidence for three interventions – cognitive training, blood pressure control and increased physical activity but stressed that more research is needed.

“There is good cause for hope that in the next several years much more will be known about how to prevent cognitive decline and dementia, as more clinical trial results become available and more evidence emerges,” said Leshner in an NASEM press release.

The committee concluded, “none of the interventions evaluated in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ARQH) systematic review met the criteria for being supported by high-strength evidence, based on the quality of randomized controlled trials,” highlighting the need for further investigation into lifestyle interventions that can delay or slow age-related cognitive decline.

Echoing the committee’s findings, Leshner noted, “Even though clinical trials have not conclusively supported the three interventions discussed in our report, the evidence is strong enough to suggest the public should at least have access to these results to help inform their decisions about how they can invest their time and resources to maintain brain health with aging.”

Caitlin Grzeskowiak is a Research!America Communications Intern.

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