On 1st August, 2022 Professor Henry Brodaty at UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) presented a brief report by Zoom on the outcome of Maintain Your Brain (MYB) at the world’s largest dementia conference, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in San Diego. In the ten-minute pre-recorded talk Professor Brodaty outlined the purpose, techniques, recruitment, results and implications of MYB.
MYB recruited participants aged 55-77 years old in 2018 through the 45 and Up Study to determine whether engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviours could delay or prevent cognitive decline associated with ageing and ultimately dementia.
Over 6,000 people volunteered to be involved in MYB, completed all baseline questions and had at least one of four risk factors for cognitive decline: low physical activity, sub optimal dietary intake, sub optimal cognitive activity and anxiety/ depression symptoms or history of either. The MYB team devised an online program broken down into modules to address each of these factors. Participants were eligible to receive up to four modules tailored to meet individual risk factors. After completing each module, participants received regular booster sessions until the end of year three.
Furthermore, participants were randomly divided into two groups. Participants in both groups received up to four ten-week modules over year one tailored to individual risk factors. One group received information for each module curated from publicly available, authoritative guidelines. The other group received coaching for each eligible module. Both groups received booster sessions until the end of year three.
Initial analysis demonstrated that both groups showed improvement in cognition generally and in specific domains of cognition. Those in the coaching group improved more than those receiving information.
The MYB team is now completing analysis of the data and preparing a paper for publication. “The implications of the findings from MYB are that larger population-based interventions to prevent cognitive decline with ageing are warranted,” says Professor Brodaty.