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AD/ADRD Prevention


BSR supports the development of midlife and later life non-pharmacological interventions to prevent, delay, or remediate age-related cognitive decline and AD/ADRD. These interventions target psychological, behavioral, social, or environmental factors related to cognitive decline and cognitive resilience. Interventions are encouraged to leverage insights from basic behavioral and social science, including cognitive and dementia epidemiology, studies of behavioral and social pathways to AD/ADRD, and understanding of early psychological and functional changes in cognitive and non-cognitive functions. BSR encourages behavioral intervention development aligned with the NIH Stage Model. The goal is to develop principle-based interventions, grounded in an understanding of causal mechanisms of action, and to conduct the research needed to support implementation in real world contexts.

BSR supports interventions with a variety of outcomes including affective, social, or cognitive change associated with AD/ADRD using strategies designed to engage a variety of malleable targets including behavioral and social processes where target engagement can be verified at multiple levels of analysis. Examples include (a) interventions focused on health behaviors (sleep, exercise, smoking, diet), (b) cognitive training and cognitive engagement, (c) meditation and other mind-body approaches, and (d) social engagement. BSR also supports interventions to enhance cognitive reserve and interventions to reverse or compensate for liability for premature cognitive decline and dementia linked to adverse exposures in early life (e.g., neglect, deprivation, threat/abuse, malnutrition). Studies are expected to include diverse participants and address causal drivers of individual and group differences in AD/ADRD risk and resilience. As interventions to prevent AD/ADRD may need to begin early in life, before clinical manifestation of dementia, there is increasing attention to the need to explore the potential for use of biomarkers and other preclinical diagnostics (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, functional) as intermediate outcome measures.

Related AD+ADRD Research Implementation Milestones: 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D, 10F

Active Projects as of September 2021: Prevention

Research Programs & Contacts

Program Contact

Relevant Area(s)

Jonathan W. King

  • Cognitive interventions to prevent AD/ADRD

Lisa Onken

  • Behavioral and mind-body intervention development

Luke E. Stoeckel

  • Adherence to lifestyle interventions in aging and prevention of AD/ADRD
  • Cognitive interventions to prevent AD/ADRD

Funding Opportunities

BSR is accepting grant applications to a number of funding opportunities related to prevention of AD/ADRD. In addition, any AD/ADRD-focused application can be submitted to NIA’s parent AD/ADRD R01 and R21 program announcements. Notices of Special Interest associated with these parent NOFOs specify high priority behavioral and social research topics. For a list of all of BSR’s active funding opportunities, visit our funding opportunities and applicant resources page.

Research Investments

BSR has supported research projects focused on prevention in AD/ADRD through targeted notices of funding opportunity. Although some of these funding opportunities are no longer active, the topics outlined in the announcements remain priority research areas for BSR. Applications on these topics should be submitted through a relevant active NOFO or through NIA’s parent AD/ADRD R01 and R21 program announcements.

  • RFA-AG-22-016 - Mechanism-Focused Research to Promote Adherence to Healthful Behaviors to Prevent Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (AD/ADRD).
  • RFA-AG-18-031 - Towards Implementing Novel Training Methods to Enhance Cognition in Aging (U01 Clinical Trial Required). Funded Project Descriptions.
  • PAR-18-175 - Pilot Clinical Trials for the Spectrum of Alzheimer’s Disease and Age-related Cognitive Decline (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Funded Project Descriptions.
  • RFA-AG-14-016 - Plasticity and Mechanisms of Cognitive Remediation in Older Adults. Funded Project Descriptions.

Related Workshops & Reports

Landscape of Early Neuropsychological Changes in AD/ADRD Webinar Series, November 29, 2022- May 3, 2023

Behavioral and Social Research and Clinical Practice Implications of Biomarkers and Other Preclinical Diagnostics of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and AD-Related Dementias, June 28, 2021 - June 29, 2021

Non-pharmacological Approaches to the Early Prevention of AD/ADRD, May 24-25, 2021

Incorporating the Experimental Medicine Approach in the Development of Primary Prevention Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease, October 10-11, 2019

Committee on Preventing Dementia and Cognitive Impairment meeting and the resulting influential report titled Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward

Childhood Adversity, Adult Health, and Preventive Interventions: The Potential Role of New Findings on Neuroplasticity, April 19, 2017 - April 20, 2017


Return to BSR’s AD/ADRD Main Page

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