FINGER-NL has started: a study on the effects of lifestyle interventions on cognition

January 27th marks the official start of FINGER-NL, a two year long intervention study researching the effect of a combination of life style interventions on the cognitive abilities of elderly people. In the FINGER-NL study, which is part of the overarching national MOCIA project, five Dutch research institutes join forces to one multi domain lifestyle intervention. Wageningen University and Research Centre, Maastricht University, Radboud University Medical Centre Nijmegen, University Medical Centre Groningen, and Alzheimer Centre Amsterdam will jointly research how lifestyle interventions can contribute to improving brain health of an elderly population.

Previous scientific research found that there are factors that can be linked to cognitive decline. Some of these risk factors can be influenced by making adjustments in lifestyle. A previous study conducted in Finland, with the name FINGER, found that a combination of physical exercise, healthy diet, monitoring cardiovascular health and memory training can improve the cognitive abilities in an elderly population. Recent research shows that other life style factors, such as adequate sleep and relaxation may also have a positive effect on cognition.

Inspired by the positive results of the FINGER study, a global initiative called  World-Wide FINGERS  (WW-FINGERS) has been established to expand the findings globally while optimizing the intervention. EU-FINGERS is part of the global WW-FINGERS network of multidomain trials for dementia risk reduction and prevention. In the Netherlands, the lifestyle intervention is called FINGER-NL, and all these lifestyle factors will be combined into one two-year multi domain lifestyle intervention.

Tailor-made lifestyle programme

The personalised lifestyle programme in this study will take two years and is focused on different factors related to brain health, such as physical exercise, memory training, diet, monitoring cardiovascular health and adequate sleep and relaxation. Participants for this study are between 60-79 years old. The results of this study can be used for more specific lifestyle advice, with the goal of preventing cognitive decline amongst elderly.

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