Can lifestyle modification improve neurocognition? Rationale and design of the ENLIGHTEN clinical trial.

Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) not only increase the risk for clinical CVD events, but also are associated with a cascade of neurophysiologic and neuroanatomic changes that increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Although epidemiological studies have shown that exercise and diet are associated with lower CVD risk and reduced incidence of dementia, no randomized controlled trial (RCT) has examined the independent effects of exercise and diet on neurocognitive function among individuals at risk for dementia. The ENLIGHTEN trial is a RCT of patients with CVD risk factors who also are characterized by subjective cognitive complaints and objective evidence of neurocognitive impairment without dementia (CIND) STUDY DESIGN: A 2 by 2 design will examine the independent and combined effects of diet and exercise on neurocognition. 160 participants diagnosed with CIND will be randomly assigned to 6 months of aerobic exercise, the DASH diet, or a combination of both exercise and diet; a (control) group will receive health education but otherwise will maintain their usual dietary and activity habits. Participants will complete comprehensive assessments of neurocognitive functioning along with biomarkers of CVD risk including measures of blood pressure, glucose, endothelial function, and arterial stiffness. CONCLUSION: The ENLIGHTEN trial will (a) evaluate the effectiveness of aerobic exercise and the DASH diet in improving neurocognitive functioning in CIND patients with CVD risk factors; (b) examine possible mechanisms by which exercise and diet improve neurocognition; and (c) consider potential moderators of treatment, including subclinical CVD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Blumenthal, JA; Smith, PJ; Welsh-Bohmer, K; Babyak, MA; Browndyke, J; Lin, P-H; Doraiswamy, PM; Burke, J; Kraus, W; Hinderliter, A; Sherwood, A

Published Date

  • January 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 60 - 69

PubMed ID

  • 23000080

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1559-2030

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.cct.2012.09.004

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States