The University of South Florida is seeking healthy older adults to volunteer for the Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study. This landmark study examines whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additional funding of $3.2 million was awarded to further investigate if Alzheimer’s disease can be detected early through simple blood tests. The grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health expands USF’s PACT study. The PACT study will now work with the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s disease and Related Dementias to analyze blood specimens collected from study participants.
The PACT study is recruiting volunteers aged 65 and older with no signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. Those interested in the study may participate in initial testing at the USF Tampa or St. Petersburg campuses or at Reliance Medical Centers in Lakeland or Winter Haven. Participants may also join the study at Clemson University, University of Florida, University of North Florida, or Duke University. PACT participants may now volunteer to provide blood samples that will be used to develop tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We need another 2000 healthy older adults to volunteer for the PACT study. We are very grateful to the 1800 volunteers from Tampa Bay who have already joined our fight against Alzheimer’s disease by enrolling in PACT”, said principal investigator Jerri Edwards, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “Participants will now not only be contributing to our work on how to possibly prevent dementia, but also advancing efforts to develop blood tests for early detection of the disease.”
More information is available at the PACT study website, pactstudy.org, or by calling (813) 974-6703.
Studies like PACT take on increased urgency because no proven treatments yet exist to cure or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Existing methods of diagnosing dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease require expensive PET scans or invasive cerebrospinal fluid samples, but scientists are now working toward developing simple blood tests to replace the existing methods.
The USF PACT study concentrates on the effectiveness of computerized programs, or brain games, for preventing dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. At the end of the PACT trial, the scientists will examine the blood samples from willing participants and determine which specific blood-based biomarkers predict Alzheimer’s disease, the severity of the disease, and/or responsiveness to treatment.
The PACT study is supported by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant number R01AG070349. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
About USF Health
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the Taneja College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and USF Health’s multispecialty physicians group. The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. For more information, visit health.usf.edu