An encouraging pilot study suggests that personalized interventions hold significant potential for enhancing cognitive health in elderly individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s.
Dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s, is one of the most concerning illnesses affecting older adults worldwide, with millions of people living with the condition and limited effective treatments available.
To address this challenge, neurologist Kristine Yaffe and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco have undertaken a groundbreaking approach.
“This personalized intervention, targeting multiple cognitive areas and based on a participant’s risk profile, preferences, and priorities, is a first of its kind,” Yaffe explains.
The researchers provided personalized coaching for 82 participants, with each individual working with a coach to identify goals based on their risk factors and tailor activities to their abilities and preferences.
From food logging to fitness trackers, video chats to volunteering, and medication to mindfulness, a wide range of approaches was employed to support each participant.
Over a two-year period, the treatment group experienced significant improvements in cognitive and physiological tests, amounting to a 74 percent improvement over the control participants.
In addition to the positive results, the high level of satisfaction expressed by most participants suggests the effectiveness of the interventions.
While the findings are promising, the study’s small sample size and practical challenges for implementing such personalized treatments in broader communities are important considerations.
Despite these limitations, the promising group-level findings suggest that this approach deserves further consideration for managing Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the future.
This research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.