University of South Florida

USF to extend ground-breaking dementia prevention research to Sarasota

The University of South Florida and healthy older adult volunteers from the Sarasota area will play an increasingly crucial role in the landmark Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study. This study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, examines whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additional funding awarded earlier this year will provide PACT study participants with an option to provide blood samples that will be used to develop tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. This is the largest study of its kind to date, investigating not only how to possibly prevent dementia but also how to detect it earlier.

USF’s PACT study expansion to Sarasota will increase our expected study enrollment from 2,354 to 3,567 over the next two years. To qualify, participants must be 65 or older with no signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. There is an emphasis on the need for African-American/Black and Hispanic study volunteers. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, these populations are at the highest risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

“We are excited for the opportunity to launch PACT in Sarasota. We are seeking another 1,213 healthy older adults to volunteer for this important study. We are grateful for the 2,354 volunteers in the Tampa Bay region and beyond who have already joined our fight against Alzheimer’s disease by enrolling in PACT. The scientific contributions made possible by our PACT volunteers have the potential to positively impact our lives and the lives of future generations,” said Brianne Stanback, PhD, research assistant professor in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and director of Community Engagement for PACT.

Those interested in the study may participate at USF Sarasota-Manatee, Tampa, or St. Petersburg campuses or at Reliance Medical in Lakeland or Winter Haven. Participants may also join the study at University of Florida in Gainesville or Jacksonville, University of North Florida, Clemson University in Seneca or Greenville, SC, or Duke University in Durham, NC.

PACT participants will be asked to initially come to two in-person study visits. They will then complete 45 computerized training exercises in their own home or they may choose to complete activities at a study site. Participants will be asked to return about three years later for a third study visit.

More information is available at the PACT study website,, or by calling (941) 500-4447.

The PACT study is supported by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant number R01AG070349. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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