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Can We Prevent Cognitive Decline?

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

A Success in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s: New Ways to Stop the Fog of Dementia Before It Starts

This was the cover of Scientific American’s April 2017, edition. The article inside, A Rare Success Against Alzheimer’s: A Gold-Standard Clinical Trial Provides Evidence that Diet, Exercise and an Active Social Life Can Help Prevent Cognitive Decline was authored by Professor Miia Kivipelto – the principal investigator of the FINGER Study – and Dr. Krister Häkansson.

The Scientific American article was based on the FINGER Study, a landmark in research on lifestyle as a prevention strategy for cognitive impairment and dementia. The FINGER Study was published in The Lancet (the leading British Medical Journal) in 2015. It was titled: A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial.

The results at two years demonstrated cognitive improvement in the active participants versus controls who received only general medical advice. All participants in this landmark trial are being followed for an additional 7 years to determine if the improvement in brain function leads to a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

The results of FINGER validate the proprietary, evidence-based Brain+Body Total Fitness program pioneered by BrainSavers almost a decade earlier. FINGER incorporated cognitive exercise, physical exercise and brain healthy nutrition with medical management of cardiovascular risk factors. BrainSavers is more inclusive. It includes six major lifestyle components; socialization, cognitive exercise, physical exercise, healthful nutrition, stress management and sleep hygiene. And the BrainSavers program with three years of content is available in three formats: i) as an instructor-led live class, ii) online (BrainSavers Synapse) and iii) as daily workbook-journal (BrainSavers ACTIVE) for caregivers and at-home aging individuals.