DOI: 10.1002/alz.082779 ISSN: 1552-5260

Background and Design of the U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER)

Laura D Baker, Heather M Snyder, Mark A. Espeland, Rachel A. Whitmer, Miia Kivipelto, Nancy Woolard, Jeffrey A. Katula, Kathryn V. Papp, Jennifer Ventrelle, Sarah Graef, Marcus Hill, Scott Rushing, Julia Robertson, Laura Lovato, Deborah M Felton, Benjamin J. Williams, Mina Ghadimi Nouran, Rema Raman, Tiia Ngandu, Alina Solomon, Sharon Wilmoth, Maryjo Cleveland, Jeff D. Williamson, Katherine Lambert, Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, Claire E Day, Christy C Tangney, Darren R. Gitelman, Olivia Matongo, Terrianne Reynolds, Valory Pavlik, Melissa Yu, Ashley Alexander, Richard Elbein, Ann Marie McDonald, Stephen Salloway, Rena R. Wing, Susan Antkowiak, Maria C. Carrillo,
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



U.S. POINTER is a Phase 3, multicenter, randomized 2‐year clinical trial of two multidomain lifestyle interventions in 2111 older adults who are at increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia due sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and other factors such as family history of memory impairment and suboptimum cardiovascular health.


Enrollment took place at five geographically diverse sites, beginning in 2019 and completing in early 2023. Participants are randomly assigned to one of two lifestyle intervention groups that differ in format, intensity, and accountability. Those randomized to the Self‐Guided Lifestyle Intervention receive annual medical monitoring and health education information, tools, and support to encourage increased physical and cognitive activity and a healthier diet through 2‐3 annual group meetings. Those randomized to the Structured Lifestyle Intervention receive frequent medical monitoring of cardiovascular health and a structured program of exercise (primarily aerobic), nutritional counseling, cognitive training and social engagement initially through weekly and then monthly group meetings. U.S. POINTER includes partnerships with local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association and lifestyle specialists to assist with intervention delivery. The primary outcome is 2‐year change in cognitive function measured with a global cognition composite score that permits harmonization with FINGER and other trials. Secondary and tertiary outcomes include measures of executive function and episodic memory, physical activity, diet, cognitive and physical activity, cardiometabolic disease risks, mood, quality of life, health care costs, and health care utilization.


U.S. POINTER is generating a richly phenotyped cohort that will provide a rigorous comparison of two lifestyle interventions designed to preserve cognitive function. It has nurtured 4 ancillary studies to assess intervention effects on outcomes related to sleep quality, brain structure and pathology, peripheral and neurovascular function, and the microbiome. It also partners with clinical trials within the World‐Wide FINGERS international network. The study is generating an archive of biospecimens and de‐identified public use data. Plans for a post‐intervention observational study of the U.S. POINTER cohort are underway.


U.S. POINTER provides an important national resource to advance the field in understanding the role of nonpharmacological interventions in reducing risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

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