The multi-year, cross-institutional Coaching for Cognition in Alzheimer’s (COCOA) clinical trial is nearly complete.
“The hypothesis of the trial was to take people with early Alzheimer’s and treat them with mostly non-pharmacological interventions to improve Alzheimer’s compared to controls,” said ISB Senior Research Scientist Dr. Jared Roach, who has overseen COCOA, a randomized controlled trial that followed 53 participants, each over 24 months.
Roach discussed the trial while presenting at an ISB Research Roundtable virtual event. You can watch his presentation here, or hit play on the video above.
The COCOA trial examined diet, exercise and cognitive training as possible non-pharmacological interventions to Alzheimer’s, with some trial members receiving telephonic coaching centered on stress, diet and exercise, as well as brain training focusing on brain speed and attention. Formal results are not yet available, as the trial is not yet complete.
ISB, the Shankle Clinic, the Hoag Neurosciences Institute, and other collaborators conducted the study, and funding came from Providence.
ISB and Clinical Trials
Why does ISB conduct clinical trials?
“Yes, we want to test the hypothesis, but we want to do systems biology, too,” Roach said. “We want to generate a lot of data to learn a tremendous amount about the disease, to modify the intervention and improve it in the next version of the clinical trial so we can do a series of clinical trials over time.”
One of the defining aspects of the COCOA trial was the sheer amount of data collected on each patient – about 2,500 variables were examined over six time points.
Roach said another reason for this trial was to give a gift to the research community.
“The more trials we do on the more diseases, the more we can do integrative analysis across all of these clinical trials to learn new things we couldn’t even imagine asking questions about before we started,” he said. “We take a global vision of human health as we’re doing these clinical trials and fit them together.”
ISB is hosting a series of Research Roundtable conversations throughout 2021 that will feature our leading scientists discussing their latest research. These events are designed for the novice scientist and the expert alike, and are open to anyone interested in the topics. Featured scientists will also answer your questions.
Next up in our series is ISB Associate Professor Dr. Naeha Subramanian, who will discuss the latest in ISB’s Lyme Disease research on July 13 (sign up here). On September 21, Dr. Andrew Magis will discuss identifying markers of cancer years before diagnosis (sign up here).
Past events have featured ISB Co-founder Dr. Lee Hood and microbiome specialist and ISB Assistant Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons. You can read about their talks and watch their presentations here and here, respectively.
In an article published by Pam Belluck for the New York Times titled, “New Research Hints at 4 Factors That May Increase Chances of Long Covid,” findings of an ISB-led study published in the journal Cell are covered in depth, including quotes from ISB president Dr. Jim Heath.
Researchers have identified several factors that can be measured at the initial point of COVID-19 diagnosis that anticipate if a patient is likely to develop long COVID. They also found that mild cases of COVID-19, not just severe cases, are associated with long COVID. Their findings were published by the journal Cell.
From planning, creating and executing workshops for educators to forging new relationships to elevate students, the ISB Education team has been in high gear. Each month throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, we will highlight some of the top projects the team is working on.
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