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UNF and UF join forces to expand groundbreaking dementia prevention research in Jacksonville

The University of North Florida and the University of Florida have joined forces to expand groundbreaking dementia prevention research in Jacksonville.

The University of Florida and healthy older adult volunteers from North Florida will play an increasingly crucial role in the landmark Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study. This study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, examines whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additional funding awarded earlier this year will provide PACT study participants with an option to provide blood samples that will be used to develop tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. This is the largest study of its kind to date, investigating not only how to possibly prevent dementia but also how to detect it earlier. 

“We are excited about having the University of Florida join us in Jacksonville. We have just hit a major milestone of 500 participants at UNF and will be seeking another 800. Because Jacksonville is so big, we knew we needed to have better access for people living on the west side of the river,” said Jody Nicholson, PhD, PACT site-PI and associate professor of psychology at the University of North Florida. “The University of Florida in Jacksonville, being so conveniently located downtown, will be able to serve areas of the city that are not convenient to the UNF area. The Jacksonville location is looking to recruit almost 350 participants and is hoping to reach individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in Alzheimer’s prevention research, such as people from the Black and Hispanic communities in Jacksonville”, said Adam Woods, PhD, PACT UF site-PI and associate professor of clinical and health psychology at the University of Florida.

The University of Florida’s PACT study expansion to Jacksonville will increase the expected study enrollment from 500 to 838 over the next two years. To qualify, participants must be 65 or older with no signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. There is an emphasis on the need for African-American/Black and Hispanic study volunteers. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, these populations are at the highest risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. 

Those interested in the study may participate at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, the University of Florida in Gainesville or the University of North Florida.

PACT participants will be asked to initially come to two in-person study visits. They will then complete 45 computerized training exercises in their own home or they may choose to complete activities at a study site in Downtown Jacksonville. Participants will be asked to return about three years later for a third study visit.

More information is available at the PACT study website,, or by calling (904) 244-4695.

The PACT study is supported by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant number R01AG070349. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.