Effects of a 6-Month Multifaceted Diet and Exercise Intervention on Cognition in Older Adults at Risk of Cognitive Decline: The PONDER Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Randomized Trial

September 5, 2022

Authors: Helen Macpherson, Sarah Brownell, Elizabeth Harris, Rachel L Duckham, Stella O'Connell, Barbara J Meyer, Sam Mirzaee, Robin M Daly

Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-220234

Year Published: 2022


Multidomain interventions which incorporate exercise and dietary supplementation to target both cognitive and physical health domains may be an important approach to delay cognitive decline.


The Protein Omega-3 aNd vitamin D Exercise Research (PONDER) study investigated the effects of a 6-month multifaceted intervention in community-dwelling older adults with subjective memory impairment on cognition (primary outcome), physical function, and body composition with a further 6-month follow up for cognition (secondary outcomes).


Single-center, community-based, parallel-group, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial involving a 6-month multifaceted intervention with a further follow-up at 12 months. A total of 147 participants [mean age 70.2 years (SD 6.1), 70% female] were randomized to a multimodal exercise program consisting of twice-weekly supervised resistance and aerobic training, combined with a daily omega-3 (900 mg EPA, 600 mg DHA), vitamin D (1000 IU) and protein (20 g) supplement (n = 73), or a control condition (n = 74) comprising stretching/flexibility sessions combined with a placebo. The primary outcome was a composite CogState measure and Trail-Making Test B-A.


There were no significant between-group differences in the change of cognition at 6 or 12 months or physical function outcomes at 6 months, but the intervention significantly improved total lean mass compared to controls [0.72 kg (95% CI 0.26-1.19), p = 0.001].


A multi-faceted intervention including an omega-3, vitamin D and protein-enriched supplement with twice-weekly exercise training did not provide any benefits to cognitive or physical function in older adults with subjective memory impairment, despite improvements in lean mass.

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