Media Advisory

Monday, July 29, 2019

NIH enables imaging in lifestyle interventions trial for Alzheimer’s disease

Federal funding will add important data on impact of diet, exercise.


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.


  • Laurie Ryan, Ph.D., chief, Dementias of Aging Branch, Division of Neuroscience, NIA
  • Kristina A. McLinden, Ph.D., program director, Dementias of Aging Branch, Division of Neuroscience, NIA


The NIA experts are available for interviews Monday, July 29, 2019, 9 A.M. Eastern Time / 6 A.M. Pacific Time.

About the National Institute on Aging (NIA): NIA leads the U.S. federal government effort to conduct and support research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. Learn more about age-related cognitive change and neurodegenerative diseases via NIA’s Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center website. For information about a broad range of aging topics, visit the main NIA website and stay connected.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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