The Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) is the first carefully designed and monitored population-based randomized controlled trial that aims to prevent cognitive decline. The intervention consists of four components: nutritional guidance, physical activity, cognitive and social activity, and intensive monitoring and treatment of metabolic and vascular risk factors. Participants in the reference group receive general public health advice on lifestyle and vascular risk factors.
The primary outcome is cognitive impairment, and an extended follow-up of seven years after the end of the intervention is planned to investigate the impact on dementia incidence. Preliminary analyses on differences between the intervention and control groups in various vascular, metabolic, and dietary factors support the hypothesis of beneficial effects from the multi-domain intervention. The intervention group has better glucose metabolism (fasting glucose and oral glucose tolerance test); lower total cholesterol and LDL values; lower weight, waist circumference and body mass index; and lower systolic BP than the control group. After one year of intervention, participants in the intervention arm have also improved their diet in comparison with participants in the control arm: they have a significantly lower intake of saturated fats and higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fibers, and vitamins.