penn study1.jpg

African Americans ages 65 to 85 are wanted for a dementia prevention study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Scientists at LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center are recruiting participants for a study on dementia prevention in older African-Americans.

The project is distinctive because few studies to date have specifically come up with changes in behavior that target preventing dementia in older African-Americans, said Dr. Robert Newton, who designed the project with Dr. Owen Carmichael.

“The goal of Program for the African-American Cognition and Exercise study is to increase our knowledge of the effects of behavior change programs on dementia prevention,” Newton said.

Study participants, African-Americans between the ages of 65 and 85, will be randomly assigned to one of two behavior change programs: a 12-week program, which includes weekly physical activity sessions; or a 12-week successful aging program, which includes weekly small group seminars. Each program will take place in a community setting.

“African-Americans experience dementia, or severe problems with thinking skills that impact the ability to live independently, at a higher rate than members of other ethnic and racial groups. Behavior change programs are safe, well-tolerated and have shown some promise in reducing risk factors for dementia,” Newton said. “We hope to reduce people’s risk of developing dementia.”

If the behavior change programs work as intended, Carmichael and Newton may be able to achieve their final aim — determining if the intervention affects participants’ thinking skills.

Funding for the study was provided by BrightFocus Foundation, a nonprofit supporting research on Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma. For more information about the study or to participate, visit pbrc.edu/clinical-trials/?studyid=259, call (225) 763-3000 or email clinicaltrials@pbrc.edu.