The University of South Florida (USF), thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health, is conducting a study to determine whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. The grant from the National Institute on Aging expands USF’s Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study.
The PACT study is seeking volunteers aged 65 and older with no signs of cognitive impairment or dementia to participate. Those accepted into the study will participate in initial testing at a PACT location at the USF Tampa or St. Petersburg campuses or at Reliance Medical in Lakeland.
“We need 3,000 healthy volunteers from Tampa Bay to join our fight against Alzheimer’s disease,” said USF Site Principal Investigator Jerri Edwards, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
Dr. Edwards and others have published research that indicates targeted computerized training can help maintain mental and physical function. Healthy older adults who were prescribed 10 sessions of such training had a 29 percent lower risk of dementia after 10 years. Those completing additional training benefitted even more as they were 48 percent less likely to show signs of dementia 10 years later.
If you are concerned with helping find a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, this is your opportunity to help by volunteering. The USF PACT study is part of the largest medical studies undertaken in Florida. Be a part of this and give back to the community while receiving free testing and ongoing Alzheimer’s prevention.
Volunteers who are African American and Hispanic/Latino are needed the most, as the Alzheimer’s Association reports these populations are at highest risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Studies like PACT take on increased urgency because no proven treatments yet exist to cure or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. The few Alzheimer’s medications currently on the market primarily provide short-term management of symptoms for those who already have dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease afflicts 5.8 million Americans, including one in every 10 people aged 65 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Without effective interventions, the human and economic costs for those living with dementia, their caregivers and the health care system will continue to rise as the population ages.
For more information, please visit www.pactstudy.org or call 974-6703.