How to prevent cognitive decline – ScienceDaily – Archyde

Physical activity, diet and cognitively stimulating activities are known to be good ways to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. Vulnerable older adults can access a variety of lifestyle services for this purpose, including diet plans and body/mind exercise.

Now, an international team of researchers led by Université de Montréal psychology professor Sylvie Belleville has determined how many of these intervention sessions it takes to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk individuals: only about a dozen.

Published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the study by Dr. Belleville and colleagues at the Universities of Toulouse and Helsinki show that 12 to 14 sessions are enough to see an improvement in cognition. Until now, the number of sessions or “doses” required for optimal effect was unknown.

“In pharmacological studies, every effort is made to define an optimal treatment dose required to observe the expected effects,” said Belleville, a neuropsychologist and researcher at the research center of the UdeM-affiliated Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal. “This is rarely done in non-pharmacology studies, particularly those looking at the prevention of cognitive decline, where little information is available to identify this dose.

“Defining an optimal number of treatment sessions is therefore crucial,” she continued. “While proposing too few sessions does not result in appreciable improvement effects, too many sessions are also undesirable because these interventions are costly. They are costly in terms of time and commitment for both the person providing the treatments and the organization providing those treatments.”

The study is based on a secondary analysis of data from the three-year Multidomain Alzheimer’s Preventive Trial (MAPT) and looked at 749 participants who received a range of interventions aimed at preventing cognitive decline. These included dietary advice, physical activity, and cognitive stimulation to improve or maintain physical and cognitive abilities.

The individuality of people important

In their research, Belleville’s team found that people’s individuality should be considered when determining the optimal treatment dose.

In their study, the researchers assessed the impact of the sessions on each participant’s age, gender, educational level, and cognitive and physical condition. The relationship between each “dose” received and their cognitive improvement was then analyzed.

The main results show an increase with dose followed by a plateau effect after 12 to 14 sessions. In other words, you need a sufficient dose to see an effect, but offering more than 12 to 14 treatment sessions does not mean better results. However, participants with a lower level of education or more risk factors for frailty benefited from more sessions.

The conclusion? It’s important to identify and aim for an optimal dose and tailor treatment for each individual, the researchers say. Not only is “dosing” an important part of behavioral interventions, it can also provide valuable information when time and money are limited, helping public health agencies develop effective prevention programs and provide guidance to older adults and physicians.

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materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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