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McKnight Brain Research Foundation Commissioned Study with the Institute of Medicine on Cognitive Aging is Released

Published: April 22nd, 2015

Category: News

Early in 2012, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation (MBRF) petitioned The Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene an ad hoc committee to examine cognitive aging as distinct from Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the committee would be requested to make recommendations on the next steps needed to advance and accelerate the translation of research to practice for the diagnosis, prevention, amelioration, and treatment of cognitive aging.

Following the approval of a proposed budget and scope of work, the IOM convened a planning meeting on November 27, 2015 to:

  • Identify gaps and opportunities in the field of cognitive aging
  • Determine if there is potential value in conducting a national study on cognitive aging; and, if there is a need and value, to determine the scope of work and budget requirements for a future IOM study

At the November 27, 2012 planning meeting, comprised of 35 individuals representing a range of relevant disciplines, met and heard presentations on:

  • Definitions, epidemiology, and public health providers
  • Overview of the science of cognitive aging-basic and clinical research
  • Interventions
  • Public awareness and role of health care providers

The planning group members agreed that cognitive aging is a topic that would greatly benefit from an IOM National study. The trustees of the MBRF shared the opinion that the IOM is the best site for the study. It would be independent and it enjoys the scientific creditability and has policies in place that require efforts to balance biases and avoid conflicts of interest. After receiving a budget and scope of work proposal from the IOM in February 2013, the trustees of the MBRF commissioned the IOM to perform a study on cognitive aging to enable the IOM to secure additional sponsors. The trustees of the MBRF are very pleased the following distinguished organizations agreed to co-sponsor this hallmark study on Cognitive Aging: The National Institute on Aging (NIA), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Retirement Research Foundation (RRF), and the AARP.

After agreement on the “Statement of Task”, the committee on the public health dimensions of  cognitive aging began its work on the National study to examine cognitive health and aging as distinct from Alzheimer’s Disease on February 3, 2014. The committee was asked to focus on the public health aspects of cognitive aging with special emphasis on the following;

Definitions and terminology

  • Epidemiology and surveillance
  • Prevention and intervention opportunities
  • Education of health professionals
  • Public awareness and education

On April 14, 2015, after 14 months of intense work, and the required review of the draft report by individuals chosen in accordance with the procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee, the IOM study committee released the study report on COGNITIVE AGING Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action. (See Summary Report)

The trustees of the MBRF applaud the IOM and the members of the committee for developing an outstanding report on the importance of cognitive aging and its influence on cognitive decline not caused by neurodegenerative disease. As the global population ages, individuals and societies must take actions that will help to prevent, retard or ameliorate the impact of aging on the brain. The maintenance of cognitive health will help older adults to remain independent and lead fuller and productive lives with their continued involvement and contribution to families, communities and social networks. The IOM study on COGNITIVE AGING Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action provides a National Plan to bring together the various stakeholders to develop strategies and initiatives to advance the understanding and alleviation of cognitive decline in the aging, not caused by disease.

 The complete report and other relevant materials on the IOM website at: