Finland paves way for memory disorder prevention research

The Finnish FINGER* trial aiming at the prevention of memory disorders provides a leading role model for several new studies carried out around the world. The newly founded World Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS) network comprises leading researchers in the field, seeking to find novel approaches to prevent memory disorders based on the promising findings from the FINGER trial. The University of Eastern Finland is one of the main contributors to the FINGER study, which is the first large randomised controlled trial showing that lifestyle interventions can be used to prevent cognitive decline.

Miia Kivipelto, Research Director at the University of Eastern Finland and Professor at Karolinska Institutet, is the principal investigator of the Finnish FINGER study and the founder of the WW-FINGERS network. 
“As the population ages, the growing number of people with memory disorders is a great national and international challenge. Here in Finland, we have some promising results indicating that lifestyle interventions can be used to influence the risk of cognitive decline. Based on the FINGER study, WW-FINGERS seeks to produce the best possible data by bringing together the world’s leading researchers, by sharing research data, and by harmonising research methodology,” Kivipelto says.

In the FINGER trial, 1,260 Finnish elderly participants who had an increased risk for dementia were randomly divided into two groups. Over a two-year period, one of the groups was offered regular health advice, while the other was offered an intensive lifestyle intervention. This lifestyle intervention involved nutrition counselling, physical exercise, cognitive training and comprehensive advice for managing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study showed that the multidomian lifestyle interventions protected against cognitive and functional decline.

Intervention trials based on the FINGER trial are now being launched in the USA, Singapore, Australia and China. Following the FINGER trial model, a similar study in the USA, the US-POINTER trial, just secured 20 million dollars of funding. The US POINTER trial is supported by the Alzheimer's Association and Professor Miia Kivipelto will be co-investigator and member of the trial executive leadership group. Both the founding of the WW-FINGERS initiative and the launch of the US-POINTER study were announced during the press conference at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in London on 19 July 2017.

*Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to prevent cognitive impairment and disability

For further information, please contact:

Miia Kivipelto
Tel. +46 73 9940922
University of Eastern Finland
Karolinska Institutet

Hilkka Soininen
Professor, Dean
Tel. +358 40 5735749
University of Eastern Finland

Tiia Ngandu
Medical Expert
Tel. +358 29 524 7716
National Institute for Health and Welfare


Links:                 WW-FINGERS:

     Press release of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2017: