Regenstrief Scientist Awarded $3M for Dementia Study

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(Image courtesy of IUPUI) (Image courtesy of IUPUI)
INDIANAPOLIS -

A Regenstrief Institute research scientist has been awarded $3.3 million from the National Institute on Aging. The five-year award will fund a clinical trial that aims to determine if stopping anticholinergic medications results in cognitive improvements. 

Commonly prescribed drugs, such as anticholinergic medications have been linked to decreased functioning in the brain over time, which includes the diagnosis of dementia, in several prior studies. 

Noll Campbell, PharmD, M.S. says his trial will be the “first randomized clinical trial to determine whether reducing or stopping these medications improves cognition.”

The Regenstrief Institute says if the Campbell’s study team finds that decreasing or discontinuing the use of the drugs for current patients results in better brain health without negatively effecting other medical conditions, the team will have discovered a way to decrease nearly 50,000 new cases of dementia annually in the United States.

"In several studies conducted to date, we and many other researchers around the world have found a correlation between anticholinergics and cognitive impairment, but this will be the first randomized clinical trial to determine whether reducing or stopping these medications improves cognition, which would establish a true causal relationship between anticholinergics and dementia," said Dr. Campbell in a news release. "At the end of the trial, if we find that stopping anticholinergics improves brain health without negative consequences on other aspects of their health, we will have demonstrated a mechanism to improve cognition and potentially delay or prevent dementia in a subset of older adults."

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