The University of South Florida is recruiting 1,600 elderly volunteers to determine if computer brain exercises can prevent dementia.
Researchers have a year to recruit volunteers, who must be at least 65 and show no sign of cognitive impairment. If the university is successful, it will receive a seven-year grant, $ 22 million from the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
"The goal of the broader path is to ascertain that we can in effect delay or prevent dementia, such as Alzheimer's, by using specific computerized training exercises," said Jerri Edwards, professor of the USF College of Medicine that is driving the effort.
Edwards worked minor tests that have shown that brain training exercises reduce the risk of dementia in adults. In 2017, she took part in a study involving 3,000 healthy elderly people who completed 11 or more computer sessions. The study showed that they were 48% less likely to develop dementia over a 10-year period than adults who did not do the exercises.
"At this point we have done six different randomized trials showing that this particular computerized training program improves the daily skills of older people who help them maintain their function and independence," said Edwards. "So now we are interested in a very large scale to confirm that this could potentially prevent or delay dementia."
It has also been discovered that computer exercises have other advantages, said Edwards.
"We know that it improves driving safety … improves their ability to perform everyday tasks efficiently, protects against depression and the elderly who exercise have a better quality of life related to health five or seven years after, "he said.
Volunteers must take part in three visits in person and do 45 hours of computer training, which can be competed at home over the course of two years.
USF researchers received a $ 2.7 million grant to develop clinical trials and recruit volunteers.
Edwards is working on the study with David Morgan, a professor at Michigan State University and former head of the Byrd Alzheimer Research and Research Center of the USF.
Volunteers will be trained in four facilities, three in the Tampa Bay area and one in Michigan.
For more information or to learn how to volunteer, visit pacstudy.org, call (813) 974-6703 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.