New Funding to Continue the ADAPT Study

in Uncategorized
September 18th, 2009


ADAPT Study team members (left to right): Patricia Johnson, Dr. Robert Stern, Jane Mwicigi, and Dr. Brandon Gavett

An important area of research in the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is identifying methods to prevent the development of AD well before symptoms develop. One particular area of focus in preventative research is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The Alzheimer’s Disease Anti-Inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT) was funded by the National Institutes of Health between 2001-2006 to determine if NSAIDs can prevent or delay the onset of AD. The Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (BU ADC) was one of six participating sites for this multi-center investigation. When the study began in April 2001, it was the first-ever AD prevention trial using NSAIDs and the largest AD prevention trial in the world. Those individuals over age 70 who had an immediate family member diagnosed with AD, and thus had an increased risk of developing the disease, were invited to participate in the trial. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive a placebo (sugar pill) or one of two NSAIDs: naproxen sodium (Aleve) or celecoxib (Celebrex). Nationwide, 2528 people were enrolled in this study, with over 420 individuals participating locally at the BU ADC site.

In December 2004, the clinical trial was stopped because of an indication that NSAIDs can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. At that time, all participants discontinued the use of the medications, including both types of NSAIDs and the placebo. However, the study continued and participants were monitored by study staff over the next several years. The results were discouraging at first. It seemed that NSAIDs had no impact on preventing AD. However, examination over a longer period of time eventually demonstrated that the use of NSAIDs, compared to the placebo, might decrease long-term risk of developing dementia. Additional follow-up of these ADAPT participants could provide information as to whether short-term use of NSAIDs can reduce the long-term possibility of developing AD.

As part of the federal economic stimulus package, the ADAPT study investigators have secured funding from the National Institute on Aging to continue researching whether prior treatment with NSAIDs might prevent or delay the onset of AD. The ADAPT Follow-up Study will begin soon, and BU ADC staff will recontact all of our ADAPT study participants to assess any changes that may have occurred in the last four years. The BU ADC is committed to researching possible prevention methods, and we look forward to participating in the ADAPT Follow-up Study. For more information on the ADAPT Follow-up Study, contact Patricia Johnson by phone (617-638-5430) or email (