For Physicians

Numerous lines of evidence suggest that interventions that confer therapeutic benefit for cardiovascular health are also associated with improvements in, or preservation of, cognitive function. Currently it is unclear what effects these interventions have on brain function in individuals at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The rrAD study is an NIH-funded randomized, controlled trial designed to assess the effects of aerobic exercise and vascular risk reduction on cognitive performance over two years. Participants will be randomized to one of four groups:

  • Aerobic exercise program
  • Intensive pharmacological management of blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Combined aerobic exercise and intensive pharmacological management of blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Standard care

The study’s primary outcome measure is cognitive change between baseline and 24 months, assessed using the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (ADCS-PACC) score and the NIH Toolbox that includes measures of working memory, executive function, and processing speed. Secondary outcome measures include structural and functional MRI measurements, patient-reported mental and physical health, sleep disturbance and health-related quality of life, and various components of physical function.

For individuals enrolled in the pharmacological management arm, the research team will work with you and your medical practice to manage their blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

Participants will receive outcome and safety evaluations approximately every three months, free antihypertensive and statin medications during the study if randomized to the medication management arms, free access to fitness centers during the study if randomized to the aerobic exercise arms, and stipends for completion of research assessments over the two-year study period.

Potential participants need to meet all the following criteria:

  • 60 to 85 years of age
  • Have concerns about their memory or have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with a diagnosis of dementia
  • Have a physically underactive lifestyle, as determined by a physical activity questionnaire
  • Have hypertension
  • No dementia and not being treated for dementia

For more information, please contact one of the following rrAD study sites near you:

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Principle Investigator: Jeffrey Keller, PhD
Study Coordinator: Sara Goff
Call: 225-763-2973

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Dallas, Texas

Study Physicians: Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. and Diana Kerwin, M.D.
Study Contact: Tristyn Hall
Call: 214-345-4665

University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Kansas City, Kansas

Study physician: Jeffrey Burns, M.D.
Study coordinator: Angela Van Sciver
Call: 913-588-0555

Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri

Study physician: Ellen Binder, M.D.
Call: 314-286- 2707
Study coordinator: Monica Sewell
Call: 314-286- 2716