Several clinical trials have examined diet and physical activity lifestyle changes as mitigation strategies for risk factors linked to cognitive decline and dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, the ability to modify these behaviors longer term, to impact cognitive health has remained elusive.
The MedWalk trial’s primary aim is to investigate whether longer-term adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet and regular walking, delivered through motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy (MI-CBT), can reduce age-associated cognitive decline and other dementia risk factors in older, independently living individuals without cognitive impairment.
MedWalk, a one-year cluster-randomized controlled trial across two Australian states, recruited 60–90-year-old people from independent living retirement villages and the wider community. Participants were assigned to either the MedWalk intervention or a control group (maintaining their usual diet and physical activity). The primary outcome is 12-month change in visual memory and learning assessed from errors on the Paired Associates Learning Task of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Secondary outcomes include cognition, mood, cardiovascular function, biomarkers related to nutrient status and cognitive decline, MI-CBT effectiveness, Mediterranean diet adherence, physical activity, quality of life, cost-effectiveness, and health economic evaluation.
Progress and Discussion:
Although COVID-19 impacts over two years necessitated a reduced timeline and sample size, MedWalk retains sufficient power to address its aims and hypotheses. Baseline testing has been completed with 157 participants, who will be followed over 12 months. If successful, MedWalk will inform interventions that could substantially reduce dementia incidence and ameliorate cognitive decline in the community.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023 - The authors. Published by IOS Press.