LONDON, ON – Led by Lawson Health Research Institute, the first large-scale Canadian clinical trial using personalized lifestyle intervention delivered at home to help older adults with mild cognitive impairment is getting underway with support from a Weston Foundation grant of $1.5 million.

Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. There is growing evidence that modifying lifestyle and enhancing of physical activity, stimulating cognitive training and addressing cardiovascular factors could delay or prevent the decline to dementia.

Part of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), the SYNERGIC-2 trial will provide virtual, at-home interventions to 550 study participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), including personalized one-on-one coaching, to help make lifestyle and behavioural changes. This trial builds upon the successful SYNERGIC 1 trial that was using face-to face interventions of exercise and cognitive training to improve cognition, now we are expanding it by delivering these interventions remotely using digital technology.

These interventions will target five areas including physical exercise, cognitive training, diet recommendations, sleep interventions and vascular risk factor management, with the goal of enhancing health and maintaining independence for individuals at risk for developing dementia.

“There are important risk factors related to exercise, diet, sleep and socialization,” says Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso, Lawson Scientist and Geriatrician at Parkwood Institute, a part of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “If we can make the brain a little healthier with multiple lifestyle interventions, we may be able to delay or even prevent dementia.”  Dr. Montero-Odasso is also a Professor and Faculty Scholar with the Department of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University, and CCNA Team Leader.

The year-long study includes 35 researchers from across Canada to recruit a diverse population of older adults with MCI across 10 Canadian cities. They are currently looking for participants ages 60-85 with MCI and additional dementia risk factors from across Canada.

Importantly, we have created a digital platform to deliver these interventions at home with an effective coaching strategies that will help to overcome barriers for lifestyle interventions, like difficulty to access to intervention sites, lack of time to attend to gym sessions, or in rural/remote areas

“There are many Canadians who are at high risk of developing dementia, based on their family history and genetics,” explains Dr. Howard Chertkow, Chair of Cognitive Neurology and Innovation at Baycrest Health Sciences, Scientific Director at CCNA and a co-investigator on the study. “Other risk factors include having high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of physical activity, poor diet, among others. We have seen that we can reduce the risk of getting dementia if we can get people to improve their lifestyles in multiple ways.”

Those interested in taking part in the study can contact: [email protected] for additional details.

The study is part of a global initiative known as World-Wide FINGERS, an interdisciplinary network working on the prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia.

SYNERGIC-2 Trial Video Summary

If you are interested in joining the SYNERGIC-2 Trial, please contact us ASAP!!