London researchers collaborating on national dementia prevention program
Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute are collaborating with Canada’s largest dementia research initiative, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), to study an innovative online program that offers older adults the opportunity to increase their knowledge of dementia and improve lifestyle risk factors. The program, Brain Health PRO (BHPro), offers interactive digital educational modules to empower older adults to improve their physical and mental health, and modify their risk factors for dementia.
“Using the BHPro modules participants will learn how to improve their physical and mental health and reduce their risk of cognitive impairment. It is particularly novel with the education modules being delivered remotely,” explains Dr. Michael Borrie, Scientist at Lawson and Medical Director for the Aging Brain and Memory Clinic at Parkwood Institute.
The bilingual program focuses on seven different modifiable dementia risk domains: exercise, nutrition, sleep, psychological and social health, cognitive engagement, heart health, and vision and hearing. For each, the program includes 10-minute educational videos, as well as interactive activities for users to complete. Participants will also be sent portable EEG headsets to measure their brain activity during sleep, and accelerometers to track their physical activity. With the rise of dementia anticipated to reach nearly one million Canadians over the next 12 years, dementia prevention is becoming an increasingly urgent national health priority.
“The launch of BHPro is part of a significant research effort to find concrete means of preventing dementia, with the ultimate goal of having tremendous benefits for the aging experience,” says Dr. Howard Chertkow, Scientific Director of the CCNA and Director of the Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness at Baycrest.
“Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) is proud to support the launch of the BHPro through the CAN-THUMBS UP program,” adds Dr. Saskia Sivananthan, ASC’s Chief Research & KTE Officer.
BHPro is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the ASC, and was created through the Canadian Therapeutic Platform Trial for Multidomain Interventions to Prevent Dementia (CAN-THUMBS UP) program, which is part of the CCNA. The study will support 350 older adults across Canada who have at least one risk factor for dementia, including up to 60 participants through Lawson, with the goal of seeing participants’ dementia risk reduced throughout the year-long study. Please note, there is limited space for research participants. To learn more, please visit canthumbsup.ca
CCNA is the national component of the CIHR dementia research strategy, bringing together over 340 researchers across Canada to collaboratively investigate the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dementia and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases. For more information, visit ccna-ccnv.ca
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