Washington, DC - The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the University of California, Berkeley a grant to capture PET and MRI images of participants in the U.S. Protect Brain Health through lifestyle Intervention to Reduce risk (U.S. POINTER). The NIA grant is for the U.S. POINTER Neuroimaging Ancillary Study and is expected to total $47 million over five years pending availability of funds (NIH grant number R01AG062689).

U.S. POINTER is a multisite randomized clinical trial designed to evaluate whether lifestyle interventions may protect cognitive function in older adults who are at increased risk for cognitive decline. Interventions include exercise, nutrition, cognitive and social stimulation and improved health self-management. U.S. POINTER was originally fully funded with $35 million from the Alzheimer’s Association.

The U.S. POINTER Neuroimaging Ancillary Study will be adding important neuroimaging measurements not included in the original U.S. POINTER design. The NIA-funded ancillary study will allow for PET imaging at baseline and two years to measure amyloid and tau proteins, and MRIs at baseline, one year and two years to measure details in the brain including volume, white matter integrity and blood flow. These measurements will tell how effective the interventions are and provide important information about the underlying biology of brain health.

Updated with recent science advances, U.S. POINTER was modeled after Finland’s FINGER trial which concluded that those who were assigned to a multidomain lifestyle intervention group had a greater cognitive benefit than those who only had health education.