Researchers at the Brain and Mind Research Institute of the University of Sydney have announced the start of a large-scale study to investigate the effectiveness of combining two promising interventions in helping to combat age-related cognitive decline leading to dementia. Research suggests that the dietary supplement, Creatine, and computerized cognitive training using BrainTrain’s Captain’s Log each offer hope in slowing the process of cognitive decline in individuals suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). This clinical trial will investigate for the first time whether the combination of these interventions in people at risk of dementia may provide a synergic benefit and meaningfully improve cognitive functioning. The study will also examine the broader effects of these treatments on the patient’s quality of life and the burdens faced by their caregivers.

Recent research has shown that one out of five people will develop MCI, which may be defined as impairment in one or more cognitive areas but without meeting the criteria for full-blown dementia. Researchers have found that 48% of people with more than one area of cognitive impairment will convert to dementia within two years. With people living longer and longer, the world is faced with the possibility of an overwhelming dementia epidemic. By 2040, without a breakthrough in intervention, as many as 84 million people world-wide will suffer from severe memory loss and cognitive impairments related to various dementias. Currently, there is no cure for dementia, and there is no drug that can significantly reduce its devastating impact on a person’s ability to care for himself. The goal of the Australian researchers is to find and implement preventive strategies that can be used effectively on a wide-scale basis with elderly people at risk for dementia.

Research published in Nutrients (Owen, Sunram-Lea, 2011) found that certain metabolic agents, including Creatine, showed promise for improving cognitive function and slowing or preventing cognitive decline. Another study published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias (Eckroth-Bucher, Siberski, 2009) found statistically significant improvement on Dementia Rating Scale scores for impaired participants treated with a combination of activities, including computerized brain training using the Captain’s Log Cognitive Training system developed by BrainTrain. The researchers plan to combine these interventions for their new study to be conducted on a national scale in Australia starting in 2013.

About the Brain and Mind Research Institute

Diseases of the brain and mind, including substance abuse, clinical depression and dementia, make up more than 40 percent of all illness. These diseases are devastating for those affected, for their families, and for society. The mission of the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI), University of Sydney, is to bring together patients, support groups and caregivers with neuroscientists, clinicians and brain researchers, providing innovative care and enhancing research efforts.

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