The National Institute on Aging awarded Vigorous Mind a second SBIR grant. This grant is to alleviate loneliness in older adults using the Vigorous Mind engagement, socialization and brain wellness platform. The study will be performed in collaboration with researchers from the Consortium on Technology for Proactive Care (CTPC) at Northeastern University. It will engage older adults at both senior living and senior centers that are customers of Vigorous Mind.
The first SBIR grant awarded to Vigorous Mind was to add physical exercise to the Vigorous Mind multidomain platform and to test usability and feasibility with older adults. The study was done in collaboration with the CTPC at Northeastern University and was completed successfully. Participants increased their engagement in physical activity and said that they would recommend Vigorous Mind to their friends.
Older Adults and the Risks of Loneliness and Social Isolation
"Loneliness is associated with increased depressive symptoms, with risk of coronary heart disease and stroke and is a key predictor of depression, health deterioration, and death in older adults"
(Cacioppo, 2006, Valtora, 2016, Singh, 2015, Perissinotto, 2012)
"Social isolation has detrimental effects on health, having been identified as a risk factor for all-cause morbidity and mortality with outcomes comparable to smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and high blood pressure." (Landiero et al, 2017)
A Non-pharmacological Multidomain Approach
The British Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care published in 2017 its
findings and said: "Acting now on dementia prevention, intervention, and care will vastly improve living and dying for individuals with dementia and their families, and in doing so will transform the future for society. ... Dementia is by no means an inevitable consequence of reaching retirement age, or event of entering the ninth decade. Lifestyle factors might reduce, or increase, an individual's risk of developing dementia. In some populations dementia is already delayed for years, while in others the number of people living with it has increased." (Livingston, 2017)
A large study of 196,383 individuals (mean age 64.1 years) without cognitive impairment or dementia at baseline were followed for an average of 8 years to investigate whether a healthy lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of dementia regardless of genetic risk. The researchers concluded that "a healthy life style was associated with a lower risk of dementia among participants with low of high genetic risk." (Lourida, 2019)
A large 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring in Finland (FINGER study) found that "a multidomain intervention could improve or maintain cognitive functioning in at-risk elderly people from the general population." (Nagandu, 2015)
A study of 1,995 older adults without dementia that looked at the effect of lifetime intellectual enrichment (education/occupation score and mid/late life cognitive activity) found that among carriers of the APOE4 gene (who are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease), those with high lifetime intellectual enrichment (75the percentile), the onset of cognitive impairment was shown to be approximately 8.7 years later compared with low lifetime intellectual enrichment (25th percentile)." (Vemuri, 2014)
Loneliness is associated with increased depressive symptoms, with risk for coronary heart disease and stroke and is a key predictor of depression, health deterioration, and death in older adults.
[Cacioppo, 2006, Valtorta, 2016, Singh, 2015, Perissinotto, 2012)
An active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life protects against dementia. More socially active older adults experience less cognitive decline in old age and better overall functioning.
(Fratiglioni, 2004, Bennett, 2006, Wilson, 2011, Fried, 2004)
The Vigorous Mind platform which includes cognitive training, physical exercise, stress reduction activities and socializing, was developed to facilitate living a healthy lifestyle and adopting the multidomain approach to reduce the risk of dementia and maintain brain health.
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