The Coaching for Cognition in Alzheimer's (COCOA) trial: Study design.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Alzheimers Dement (N Y)


washington; isb; renton


Comprehensive treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) requires not only pharmacologic treatment but also management of existing medical conditions and lifestyle modifications including diet, cognitive training, and exercise. We present the design and methodology for the Coaching for Cognition in Alzheimer's (COCOA) trial. AD and other dementias result from the interplay of multiple interacting dysfunctional biological systems. Monotherapies have had limited success. More interventional studies are needed to test the effectiveness of multimodal multi-domain therapies for dementia prevention and treatment. Multimodal therapies use multiple interventions to address multiple systemic causes and potentiators of cognitive decline and functional loss; they can be personalized, as different sets of etiologies and systems responsive to therapy may be present in different individuals. COCOA is designed to test the hypothesis that coached multimodal interventions beneficially alter the trajectory of cognitive decline for individuals on the spectrum of AD and related dementias (ADRD). COCOA is a two-arm prospective randomized controlled trial (RCT). COCOA collects psychometric, clinical, lifestyle, genomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and microbiome data at multiple timepoints across 2 years for each participant. These data enable systems biology analyses. One arm receives standard of care and generic healthy aging recommendations. The other arm receives standard of care and personalized data-driven remote coaching. The primary outcome measure is the Memory Performance Index (MPI), a measure of cognition. The MPI is a summary statistic of the MCI Screen (MCIS). Secondary outcome measures include the Functional Assessment Staging Test (FAST), a measure of function. COCOA began enrollment in January 2018. We hypothesize that multimodal interventions will ameliorate cognitive decline and that data-driven health coaching will increase compliance, assist in personalizing multimodal interventions, and improve outcomes for patients, particularly for those in the early stages of the AD spectrum.

Highlights: The Coaching for Cognition in Alzheimer's (COCOA) trial tests personalized multimodal lifestyle interventions for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.Dense longitudinal molecular data will be useful for future studies.Increased use of Hill's criteria in analyses may advance knowledge generation.Remote coaching may be an effective intervention.Because lifestyle interventions are inexpensive, they may be particularly valuable in reducing global socioeconomic disparities in dementia care.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)




Population Health