Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a transition state between normal aging and dementia that affects about 25% of older African Americans (AAs) and predicts progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD). AAs may be at higher risk for MCI and AD than Whites, possibly because of differences in genetic, medical, and socioeconomic factors. Thus, there is a pressing need to develop preventative interventions in this high risk population. Based on an extensive epidemiologic literature that suggests that cognitive, physical, and/or social activities may prevent cognitive decline, we propose to conduct a randomized clinical trial to test the efficacy of a culturally relevant intervention, Behavior Activation (BA), to prevent cognitive decline. The intervention incorporates AAs'unique beliefs, practices, and communication patterns;resonates with their coping strategies;and facilitates access to care. We are targeting AAs with the amnestic multiple domain subtype of MCI (aMCI-MD) because they are at especially high risk. A bachelor's level nurse will deliver 6 initial in-home BA treatment sessions over 2-3 months and then 6 subsequent in-home booster sessions using language, materials, and concepts that are culturally relevant to older AAs during this 24 month clinical trial. A bachelor's level nurse will similarly deliver in-home Supportive Therapy (ST) at the same treatment intensity. ST is a placebo treatment that controls for attention. We plan to recruit subjects from multiple community sites (e.g., senior centers, senior high rise apartment houses) that predominately serve older AAs and will randomize 200 older AAs with aMCI-MD to BA or ST. The primary outcome is episodic memory as measured by the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) at baseline and at months 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24. We hypothesize that 20% of BA-treated subjects, compared to 40% of ST-treated subjects, will decline by e 6 points on the HVLT-R over 24-months. A 6-point decline on the HVLT-R translates clinically to the loss of ability to perform an instrumental activity of daily living task. The secondary outcomes are general and domain-specific neuropsychological function, difficulty with instrumental activities of daily living, depression, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and quality-of-life. This research is innovative because it targets a high-risk minority sample;employs a community-based strategy to recruit subjects, deliver the intervention, and assess outcomes;and tests a nonpharmacologic intervention that resonates with the coping strategies of older AAs. Over the past ten years we have developed productive clinical and research programs with AAs in community settings and have the established relationships, preliminary data, and clinical trials expertise to conduct the proposed research.

Public Health Relevance

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is one of the strongest risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the United States. Given the enormous personal and societal costs of AD, especially as it affects older AAs, demonstrating that a culturally relevant, nonpharmacological intervention prevents cognitive decline would boost public health efforts to encourage all older persons to pursue active lifestyles. The impact of this effort is magnified by the negative results of clinical trials of drug treatments for MCI and AD. Until we find better treatments for AD, behavioral interventions may hold the best hope for preserving cognition in an aging society.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AG035025-03
Application #
8311700
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-NRCS-B (01))
Program Officer
Ryan, Laurie M
Project Start
2010-09-30
Project End
2015-08-31
Budget Start
2012-09-01
Budget End
2013-08-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$507,350
Indirect Cost
$158,180
Name
Thomas Jefferson University
Department
Neurosciences
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
053284659
City
Philadelphia
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
19107
Rovner, Barry W; Casten, Robin J; Harris, Lynn F (2013) Cultural diversity and views on Alzheimer disease in older African Americans. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 27:133-7
Rovner, Barry W; Casten, Robin J; Hegel, Mark T et al. (2012) Preventing cognitive decline in older African Americans with mild cognitive impairment: design and methods of a randomized clinical trial. Contemp Clin Trials 33:712-20