Topic Spotlight

Dementia and Cognitive Impairment

PCORI Answers Critical Questions

Evidence gaps can make it difficult to know which treatments for dementia and cognitive impairment will work best given a patient’s needs. PCORI funds studies that seek to help patients, clinicians and others answer various questions they might have about treatment options, such as:

Patient: I’ve been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and I worry it may become Alzheimer’s disease. Can exercising or doing crossword puzzles slow down or even prevent this progression?

Caregiver: I hesitate to make all the healthcare decisions for my husband, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and still has lucid days. How do I know when to answer for him, and when I should let him talk to his doctor alone?

Caregiver: My mother’s dementia took nearly four years to diagnose after several frustrating misdiagnoses. Can my family’s experience teach others and increase early detection of this condition?

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

A female medical professional helps an older male walk along a hallway with a walking stick. Outpatient Palliative Care for Parkinson’s Disease Shows Promise with Patients and Families
This project compared the effectiveness of team-based outpatient palliative care to current standards of care for people living with Parkinson’s disease. The palliative care intervention included quarterly visits with a team that included a neurologist, social worker, chaplain, and nurse who used checklists to assess and manage palliative care. The project team reported in JAMA Neurology that, compared to usual care that used a neurologist and primary care practitioner, patients receiving palliative care at six months had improvements in their quality of life, symptom control, grief, and advance care planning. Caregivers had improved anxiety and spiritual well-being at six months and reduced caregiving burden at 12 months. A related editorial calls palliative care “the next frontier” in treating Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia and Cognitive Impairment Study Spotlights

Improving Life for Women with Parkinson’s Disease

PCORI awardees, through a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award, have built a national, prioritized research and care agenda for women with Parkinson’s disease.

Seeking to Delay Dementia with Behavioral Interventions

This study is comparing the effects of each of the five components of an intensive, multipronged behavioral intervention that is designed to delay or prevent onset of dementia in people with mild cognitive impairment. 

Improving Dementia Care for Underserved People

This study is assessing a tool kit and training program to improve dementia patients’ safety and quality of life and to reduce inappropriate antipsychotic use. 

Dementia and Cognitive Impairment Portfolio Snapshots

Dementia and Cognitive Impairment portfolio - most studied populations of interest
Older adults 11
Racial/ethnic minorities 4
Urban 4
Rural 4
Low socioeconomic status 4
Individuals with multiple chronic conditions 2
As of September 2017
Dementia and Cognitive Impairment portfolio - subcondition type projects
Dementia 6
Cognitive impairment 7
As of September 2017