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The University of Southampton

Research project: RECON - Reducing and preventing Cognitive impairment iN older age groups (the RECON programme)

Currently Active: 

Dementia occurs in 6.5% of those aged over 65, and the number of sufferers will increase due to people living longer.

Dementia occurs in 6.5% of those aged over 65, and the number of sufferers will increase due to people living longer. Reduced functioning (‘cognitive impairment’) is more common - including Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Age Associated Cognitive decline (AACD) - and approximately 5% progress to dementia annually. Intensive promotion of healthy behaviours (diet/physical activity) and cognitive exercises slow cognitive decline but use considerable staff resource.

To develop and test efficient internet-supported healthy behaviour/cognitive exercises to reduce cognitive decline among older age adults.

Workstream 1: participants with MCI or AACD.
Internet applications will be developed that have already been developed for other conditions to promote healthy behaviours and cognitive exercises, but will be adapted for individuals over the ageof 60. We will then carry out a study of around 120 patients taken from a variety of sources including general practices and also participants from existing large studies such as the Biobank study. This is to make sure the intervention is likely to work and be acceptable to patients and health professionals.
Following this we will carry out a larger study of 10940 participants. In this study we will allocate patients to one of three groups by random numbers (so patients will have an equal chance of being in any one of the three groups):

1) Control. Patients will receive brief advice about diet, physical activity and keeping the mind active;

2) Web only: in addition to the brief advice, participants will have access to an Internet-based Healthy behaviour and Cognitive exercise Package;

3) As in 2 above but with support from a facilitator to use the Internet based Healthy behaviour and Cognitive exercise Package (between 4 and 7 contacts for support in a year).
We will follow up patients in all groups, initially over 1 year, to see if their cognitive functioning improves and to talk to them about what part of the intervention worked well for them and what could have worked better for them. If the intervention works at 1 year we will request release of funds for long term follow-up.

Workstream 2: participants with no cognitive impairment.
This will proceed in parallel with WS1 developing a similar intervention using the same processes, finishing in a similar sized trial of 10515 participants.

Local Investigators: Professors Paul Little and Lucy Yardley

Funder: NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research

Duration: March 2017 – July 2026

Contact: Professor Paul Little



Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)
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