Numerous lines of evidence suggest that interventions that confer therapeutic benefit for cardiovascular health are also associated with improvements in, or preservation of, cognitive function. Currently it is unclear what effects these interventions have on brain function in individuals at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The rrAD study is an NIH-funded randomized, controlled trial designed to assess the effects of aerobic exercise and vascular risk reduction on cognitive performance over two years. Participants will be randomized to one of four groups:
- Aerobic exercise program
- Intensive pharmacological management of blood pressure and cholesterol
- Combined aerobic exercise and intensive pharmacological management of blood pressure and cholesterol
- Standard care
The study’s primary outcome measure is cognitive change between baseline and 24 months, assessed using the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (ADCS-PACC) score and the NIH Toolbox that includes measures of working memory, executive function, and processing speed. Secondary outcome measures include structural and functional MRI measurements, patient-reported mental and physical health, sleep disturbance and health-related quality of life, and various components of physical function.
For individuals enrolled in the pharmacological management arm, the research team will work with you and your medical practice to manage their blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
Participants will receive outcome and safety evaluations approximately every three months, free antihypertensive and statin medications during the study if randomized to the medication management arms, free access to fitness centers during the study if randomized to the aerobic exercise arms, and stipends for completion of research assessments over the two-year study period.
Potential participants need to meet all the following criteria:
- 60 to 85 years of age
- Have concerns about their memory or have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with a diagnosis of dementia
- Have a physically underactive lifestyle, as determined by a physical activity questionnaire
- Have hypertension
- No dementia and not being treated for dementia
For more information, please contact one of the following rrAD study sites near you:
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Study Physicians: Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. and Diana Kerwin, M.D.
Study Contact: Tristyn Hall
University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Kansas City, Kansas
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri