University of South Florida St. Petersburg



The Active Mind study aims to reduce dementia risk through brain training

The Active Mind study aims to reduce dementia risk through brain training

University of South Florida continues landmark dementia prevention research with NIH award

Researchers at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus have received a grant across the next five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Aging to continue ground breaking work in dementia prevention through a clinical research study called Active Mind. 

The Active Mind study is looking for volunteers who are aged 65 years or older or who have mild cognitive impairment to join the fight in dementia prevention. Persons who do not have dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, have not had a stroke or serious brain injury, but do have some problems with memory may qualify. Researchers are especially interested in enrolling African American and Hispanic American participants. African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at an increased risk for dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

The Active Mind study examines whether computerized brain training can reduce risk of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia prevention research takes on increased urgency as no proven treatments exist to cure Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, which affects more than 5 million Americans. 

The Active Mind study builds on research by the study scientists showing that certain computerized brain training may reduce risk of dementia by 29-48% across 10 years. While these results are encouraging, dementia was not clinically diagnosed in the study participants. Active Mind hopes to provide stronger evidence that computerized brain training can be used for Alzheimer’s prevention.

In the Active Mind study, researchers will determine which types of computerized brain training have the best chance to reduce dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.  Study sites include the University of South Florida, University of Florida, Clemson University, and University of California San Francisco in collaboration with University of Minnesota and Posit Science Corporation.

Jennifer O’Brien, Associate Professor of Psychology and investigator of the St. Pete site, says that community participation is critical to the success of this study.

“Research suggests that delaying the onset of dementia by a single year would result in millions of fewer cases over the next 30 years. By participating in this study, volunteers will contribute to our work on how to possibly prevent dementia and have the potential to positively impact our lives and the lives of future generations,” O’Brien says. 

Active Mind participants will be asked to complete in-person study visits across two years and complete at least 40 hours of computerized exercises. Enrolled study participants will receive a free iPad®. Those interested in the Active Mind study may participate at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg or Tampa campuses. 

For more information, or to volunteer, please visit the Active Mind study website or call (727) 873-4090.

Return to article listing

About the Newsroom

At the USF St. Petersburg campus newsroom, we highlight the people, events and initiatives that make us distinct. From groundbreaking research to inspiring student profiles, we are dedicated to telling our campus' story and promoting its value to the greater Tampa Bay community and beyond.


Harbor Notes News

Learn about the latest news, research updates and public events in our Harbor Notes News and Harbor Notes Events newsletters.