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Rhode Island Chosen as One of Five Sites for First Nationwide Study of Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk of Cognitive Decline

Rhode Island Chosen as One of Five Sites for First Nationwide Study of Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk of Cognitive Decline
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June 29, 2020
Eric Creamer
Alzheimer’s Association or 401-421-0008
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Providence, RI – Butler Hospital, part of the Care New England Health System, in collaboration with The Miriam Hospital, part of the Lifespan Heath System, has been chosen by the Alzheimer’s Association as one of five prominent healthcare networks across the United States to participate in the large-scale study testing whether healthy lifestyle interventions can protect cognitive abilities in older adults who are at increased risk for cognitive decline in the future. 
The U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and is the first such study to be conducted in a large, diverse group of Americans across the United States. Approximately 2,000 total volunteers will be enrolled nationally and followed for two years. The U.S. POINTER study’s initial site and Coordinating Center is at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Other sites in California, Illinois and Texas have already begun recruitment.
Locally, the U.S. POINTER New England study site will enroll 400 volunteers from across Rhode Island and surrounding areas beginning this summer. The study site will be based at Butler Hospital’s Memory and Aging Program and conducted through a collaboration with at The Miriam Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter and the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter. 
“We are so excited that Rhode Island and the southern New England region has been selected as the fifth site for the landmark U.S. POINTER Trial,” said Dr. Stephen Salloway, Director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital and one of the Principal Investigators for the Rhode Island site. “Rhode Island has the right size and community spirit to successfully carry out this study, and our team at Butler is looking forward to working closely with our partners at The Miriam Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Association,” Dr. Salloway said. 
“We are privileged to be one of five sites in the U.S. POINTER trial and are excited to work with experts at Butler and the Alzheimer's Association to conduct this important study,” said co-Principal Investigator, Rena Wing, Ph.D., Director of the Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital. “The Miriam Hospital is known for its research showing that lifestyle approaches are important for preventing heart disease and diabetes, but the U.S. POINTER study is the first large-scale, U.S. trial to investigate how a lifestyle intervention could potentially help reduce risk of cognitive decline.”
Donna McGowan, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association Rhode Island Chapter, said, “The Alzheimer’s Association has stepped up to a vital leadership role to start recruiting locally for this very important research, in collaboration with Butler Hospital and The Miriam Hospital and other scientific partners across the country. More than 24,000 people are living with Alzheimer's in Rhode Island alone, so finding an effective treatment and prevention is critically urgent. We look forward to working with the Principal Investigators (Drs. Salloway, Correia and  Wing) on this landmark study that we hope will ultimately benefit millions of Americans."
Volunteers aged 60-79 who do not have any problems with memory or thinking and do not regularly exercise will be randomly placed into one of two lifestyle interventions.  One group will have a self-guided lifestyle program and the other group will have a more structured lifestyle program. Each program will encourage increased physical exercise, a healthier diet, cognitive and social stimulation, and regular monitoring of heart and vascular health. 
In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, appropriate precautions will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all trial participants and staff.  The first phase of screening for the study will be completed by mail and over the telephone; eligible individuals from this screening process will be invited to Butler Hospital to complete other procedures with special care, adhering to all safety guidelines set forth by Care New England and the Rhode Island Department of Health.  
For more information, visit or contact or 401-POINTER (401-764-6837).
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About the Alzheimer’s Association® 
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's®. Visit

About Butler Hospital
Butler Hospital, a member of Care New England, is the only private, nonprofit psychiatric and substance abuse hospital serving adults, seniors and adolescents in Rhode Island and southeastern New England. Founded in 1844, it was the first hospital in Rhode Island and has earned a reputation as the leading provider of innovative psychiatric treatments in the region. The Major Affiliated Teaching Hospital for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in conducting cutting-edge research. For more information, visit 

About The Miriam Hospital
The Miriam Hospital ( is an inpatient and not-for-profit teaching hospital affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. U.S. News & World Report named The Miriam a best regional hospital in the Providence metro area in 2019 with a urology program ranked among the top 2 percent in the nation. The Miriam has been awarded Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services five times and is a founding member of the Lifespan health system. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@MiriamHospital).

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The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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