Lifestyle Factors May Limit Cognitive Decline Interview with:
Miia Kivipelto MD, PhD, Professor
Deputy Head, Senior Geriatrician
Aging Research Center and Alzheimer Disease Research Center
Karolinska Institutet Clinical Trials Unit, Memory Clinic
Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kivipelto: Epidemiological studies have linked several modifiable risk factors to cognitive impairment and dementia but evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT) has been lacking showing the efficacy of the interventions. Because cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are complex, multi-factorial disorders, multidomain interventions targeting several risk factors and disease mechanisms simultaneously could be needed for optimum preventive effect. The FINGER study is the first large, long-term RCT indicating that multi-domain intervention can improve and maintain cognitive functioning in at risk elderly people from the general population. We observed a significant intervention effects on the primary outcome (overall cognition), main secondary outcomes (executive functioning and processing speed) as well as on complex memory tasks and risk of cognitive decline. The multidomain lifestyle intervention was feasible and safe.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kivipelto: Lifestyle choices and vascular risk factors affect cognitive functioning; even small changes in lifestyle can have large positive effects. Try to increase and maintain physical activity and combine with mental and social activities if possible. Balanced, healthy diet. Cognitive training. Control of vascular risk factors as early as possible. .

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kivipelto: It is important to conduct the extended follow-up in the FINGER study to clarify effects on the incidence of dementia and its suptypes, other secondary outcomes (i.e. depression, functional outcomes) and health economical evaluations. Further, it will be interesting to study possible mechanisms of the intervention and the contribution of each component to the overall effect. The multidomain intervention can also be studied in different settings (i.e. memory clinic, early Alzheimer’s disease patients) and can be tested in combination with pharmacological treatments.


A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial

Tiia Ngandu, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Esko Levälahti, Satu Ahtiluoto, Riitta Antikainen, and others

The Lancet Published online: March 11, 2015 Interview with: Miia Kivipelto MD, PhD, Professor (2015). Lifestyle Factors May Help Limit Cognitive Decline 


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Last Updated on March 13, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD