Study on prevention of cognitive impairment, which produced the widely used FINGER model, continues
Earlier results of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability, or FINGER, have shown that the lifestyle programme that was developed produces significant improvements in cognitive function among the elderly. The lifestyle programme includes dietary advice, physical exercise, memory exercises, and enhanced monitoring of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
The follow-up examines long-term effects of the lifestyle programme that was used in the study, on the health of the older adults and their ability to function. Invitations to the follow-up were sent to those who took part in the earlier study. Those being studied are between the ages of 70 and 90. Information from the follow-up will be analysed next year.
“The earlier study revealed that health-related quality of life among those who followed the lifestyle programme developed in a more positive direction, their ability to function stayed better, and they developed fewer chronic illnesses than those who were given regular health advice”, says Research Manager Tiia Ngandu (THL).
Model used in more than 40 countries
FINGER was the first study in the world to show that following a multidomain lifestyle programme enables improvement of the cognitive functions of the aged and helps prevent cognitive decline. An operating model has been developed based on the results with whose help, allowing doctors, nurses, and other actors to help the elderly retain their memory functions and their general ability to function.
“The FINGER study has served as a model in the prevention of memory disorders around the world. More than 40 countries currently study and apply a lifestyle programme following the FINGER model”, says Professor Miia Kivipelto (Karolinska Institute and University of Eastern Finland, THL).
From 2009 to 2014 those taking part in the FINGER study followed a multidomain lifestyle programme for two years, whose effectiveness was compared with that of standard health advice. The study participants also took part in follow-up visits after about five and seven years.
The study was a cooperative effort of THL, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Oulu, and Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
FINGER - research project
World-Wide FINGERS: A global network of clinical trials for prevention and risk reduction of dementia