Committee on Preventing Dementia and Cognitive Impairment

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Aging, Biomedical and Health Research, Public Health
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Activity Description

An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will examine the evidence on interventions for delaying or slowing age-related cognitive decline; preventing, slowing, or delaying the onset of mild cognitive impairment; and preventing, slowing, or delaying the onset of clinical Alzheimer’s-type dementia. Other dementias such as frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, and dementias with a clear etiology, e.g., incident stroke, AIDS, traumatic brain injury will be excluded from the analysis. Interventions targeting stroke risk factors will be a priority in this study. The committee will make recommendations to inform public health strategies and messaging and recommendations for future research. The committee’s work will be based on a systematic review commissioned by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and will take place in two phases: in the first phase the committee will provide input into the design of the AHRQ systematic review, and in the second phase the committee will use the review to make its recommendations.

Phase 1: The committee will convene to inform the development of an AHRQ systematic review. Responding to preliminary key questions and a preliminary study design developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), AHRQ, and the evidence-based practice center (EPC) that AHRQ will contract with to conduct the systematic review, the committee will provide advisory input to NIH, AHRQ, and the EPC in the form of a short (1-3 page) data request document that describes potential changes and considerations for the key questions and study design that would result in a systematic review that would be most informative for the committee’s work during phase 2.

Phase 2: After the AHRQ/EPC systematic review is released, the committee will reconvene to consider the evidence found (based on the final key questions addressed in the systematic review). Interventions targeting stroke risk factors will be included. Based on the AHRQ systematic review and additional expert and public input, the committee will assess the quality of existing evidence and develop a short report that makes recommendations to inform the development of public health strategies and messaging (i.e., which preventive factors and interventions are supported by sufficient evidence to be incorporated into public health strategies and messages) and recommendations for future research.

The committee will hold an information-gathering workshop open to the public during the course of its work to seek input from stakeholders on the draft AHRQ report. The report will focus on the interventions outlined above, not on identifying risks for developing clinical Alzheimer’s-type dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and age-related cognitive decline, as this has been the topic of significant previous research.

As of March 2016, the Health and Medicine Division continues the consensus studies and convening activities previously undertaken by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

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