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Non-pharmacological Approaches to the Early Prevention of AD/ADRD

On May 24-25, 2021, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) held a workshop to review non-pharmacological approaches for early prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related dementias (AD/ADRD). Although preventive non-pharmacological interventions beginning in midlife offer an opportunity to eliminate disease burden without the risks or costs associated with chronic drug regimens, a traditional randomized controlled trial (RCT) with decades-long follow-up would face immediate and significant design challenges. The goal of this workshop was to address the core methodological challenges associated with developing and accumulating evidence to support preventive interventions for AD/ADRD with respect to the populations, targets, and outcomes that should be the focus of the prevention research agenda. The workshop was composed of four panels that each addressed a different aspect of intervention development: (1) identifying biomarkers that would show early evidence of disease modification and possibly offer surrogate outcomes, (2) measuring cognitive outcomes using instruments and methods consistent with large-scale trials of diverse populations, (3) designing the most informative trials, and (4) generating causal evidence from observational and non-clinical studies to either mirror RCTs or guide future RCTs.

The full workshop report (PDF, 365K) is now available.