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Last Chance to Join Landmark Alzheimer's Prevention Study

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News from the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital

October 23, 2022

U.S. POINTER includes memory checks, exercise and nutrition training, and heart health counseling


The Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital is putting out a “last call” for participation in the Alzheimer's Association U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER), a landmark two-year clinical trial designed to evaluate whether healthy lifestyle changes can protect memory and other thinking abilities in older adults.

Participants will receive a physical exam, regular health monitoring and two memory check-ups per year, along with participation in local group sessions focused on exercise, nutrition and brain health. Individuals interested in participating can visit butler.org/POINTER or call 401-POINTER (401-764-6837).

More than 250 individuals have already signed up to participate in the study. Butler Hospital is seeking to enroll about 100 more participants before the enrollment period closes early in 2023.

The study is open to individuals ages 60 to 79 who do not exercise regularly, and who may be at increased risk for memory problems in the future due to slightly high blood pressure, slightly high cholesterol or blood sugar levels, or a family history of memory problems. Individuals from all backgrounds are needed to join the study.


Learn More About the POINTER Study


The U.S. POINTER Study is being conducted at five sites across the U.S., including here in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island study site is a collaboration between Butler Hospital's Memory and Aging Program and the Miriam Hospital, the Alzheimer's Association Rhode Island Chapter and the Alzheimer's Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter.

Dr. Rena Wing and others who are involved in helping people learn to adopt a healthier lifestyle will work with participants over two years.

“We know that healthy lifestyle changes can lead to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and other major diseases, but U.S. POINTER will determine whether these changes also protect against memory loss and dementia in older adults,” said Dr. Wing, PhD.


There is currently no method or medication for preventing memory loss or dementia.

“This study is a great opportunity for older people in the Rhode Island area to take advantage of free medical, exercise and nutritional support that could really help them improve both their physical and brain health. We’re so grateful to the many Rhode Islanders who have already signed on to do that for themselves while also helping to advance our knowledge about Alzheimer’s prevention through this study, and we’re encouraging others to do the same,” said Stephen Salloway, MD, MS, one of the principal investigators for the Rhode Island U.S. POINTER site, as well as founder of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, and Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Professor of Neurology, and Associate Director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at Brown University.


“It’s particularly critical that this study is representative of our community -- and is inclusive of all individuals, of all genders, races and ethnicities,” Dr. Salloway said. “Black Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's, and Hispanic Americans are one and a half times more likely to develop the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association report, Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Yet much of the Alzheimer's research to date has not included sufficient numbers of Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native Americans to be representative of the U.S. population. We don’t want to fall short in this critical study as well,” Dr. Salloway said.



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