New Guidance Provides Clinical Recommendations to Reduce Dementia Risk

Publication comes just weeks after the Biden Administration and HHS Secretary Becerra made Alzheimer’s risk reduction a national priority

Washington, D.C. (January 13, 2022) – Today, Primary Prevention Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Decline, a new journal article authored by UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and 9 renowned clinicians and experts was published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. Research has found that up to 40% of dementia cases can be attributed to modifiable risk factors. The article presents six recommendations and associated strategies for prevention that primary care clinicians and general neurologists can use to initiate risk reduction conversations with their patients about cognitive decline.

The RRWG’s recommendations include a focus on:

  • Neurovascular Risk Management
  • Physical Activity
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Social Activity
  • Cognitive Stimulation

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has developed resources to share these recommendations and other guides and toolkits with providers as they optimize brain health care and support early detection and intervention.

“UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is committed to working with top brain clinicians and convening experts to build upon research that shows how taking steps to reduce risk through modifying risk factors can be effective,“ said George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Risk reduction strategies, and ensuring that clinicians are speaking about those strategies with their patients, are imperative as we continue the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s convened a Risk Reduction Workgroup (RRWG) of national experts including RRWG co-chairs Marwan N. Sabbagh, Barrow Neurological Institute, Dignity Health/St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; and Adriana Perez, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Other members of the RRWG include Thomas M. Holland, Rush University Medical Center; Malaz Boustani, Indiana University Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science, School of Medicine; Stephanie R. Peabody, Brain Health Initiative; Kristine Yaffe; University of California San Francisco; Michelle Bruno, Avalere Health; Russell Paulsen, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s; Kelly O’Brien, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s; Naila Wahid, Avalere Health; and Rudolph E. Tanzi, McCance Center for Brain Health, Massachusetts General Hospital.

The RRWG made their newly published recommendations based on expert opinion that builds upon the available evidence for dementia risk reduction.

“We know dementia and memory loss are not normal parts of aging,” said Marwan Sabbagh, Professor of Neurology, Barrow Neurological Institute. “These new recommendations should encourage providers to share that sentiment with their patients and provide actionable strategies to combat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”

“Recommendations such as those published today will help providers broach the topics of brain health and Alzheimer’s risk factors with their patients early, which can help delay and, in some cases, even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Adriana Perez, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. “Clinicians in communities of color have a helpful new resource to help them talk to their patients about their brain health, a critical first step in advancing brain health equity.”

“As we employ every tool in our toolboxes to take on Alzheimer’s disease, conversations about risk reduction between primary care providers and their patients are essential,” said Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital. “These recommendations provide primary care clinicians and general neurologists with a starting point from which to begin those conversations.”

The publication of Primary Prevention Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Decline comes just weeks after U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the addition of a new goal focused on Alzheimer’s risk reduction to the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

“The publication of these provider recommendations coupled with the recent National Alzheimer’s Plan update shows that there is broad support for the growing body of evidence related to Alzheimer’s risk reduction,” said Kelly O’Brien, Executive Director, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Brain Health Partnership. “We hope that providers will use these new recommendations to encourage their patients to take action and protect their brain health. The Brain Health Partnership looks forward to working with providers and other experts to continue to lead the charge on brain health and risk reduction.”

Adoption of the new risk reduction goal is the latest recognition of how reducing the burden of risk factors such as hypertension, physical inactivity, depression may delay the onset or slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD) and its symptoms.


About UsAgainstAlzheimer’s

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s exists to conquer Alzheimer’s disease. We take on the toughest problems; bring all of “Us” together to break down barriers; advocate for research that will speed treatments to market; and drive changes that matter most to people living with the disease. We will not rest until brain-span equals lifespan - for everyone.