Lithium as a Treatment to prevent Impairment of Cognition in Elders (LATTICE)

Principle Investigator Ari Gildengers, M.D.speaks about the LATTICE Study

Lithium as a Treatment to prevent Impairment of Cognition in Elders (or LATTICE for short) is a dementia prevention study in which Ariel Gildengers, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and his colleagues are trying to learn whether lithium can slow down memory loss or help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in people with mild memory problems, specifically those with mild cognitive impairment. Lithium is a medicine that has been used for decades for the treatment of bipolar disorder Recently, there has been considerable interest in “repurposing” lithium for AD prevention. This interest is based on a number of studies that suggest it could protect against dementia:

• In 2017, researchers in Denmark found that rates of dementia were lower in areas where the water had more naturally occurring lithium. 

• In 2015, researchers examined Medicare recipients with bipolar disorder and found significantly reduced dementia risk in those who took lithium compared to other mood stabilizers.

• In 2011, researchers in Brazil conducted a small clinical trial comparing lithium to a placebo and found that lithium was related to better cognition over 12 months.

However, while these reports are suggestive, they are not conclusive or definitive. LATTICE is the first clinical trial to prospectively examine the effects of lithium on memory and brain imaging. The LATTICE trial is looking to enroll 80 adults with mild cognitive impairment who are 60 years of age or older. The participants will take lithium (or a placebo) for two years and will undergo memory testing and brain scanning at the start of the study and one and two years later. Study participants will undergo brain scans to look at brain structure and function and the amount of amyloid proteins in the brain. Participants will then be randomly assigned to take lithium or a placebo and will be monitored closely for safety with weekly study assessments for the first four to six weeks. They will then have quarterly study visits, along with monthly telephone contacts, and annual cognitive testing and MRIs. 

LATTICE Study Design.

If you are interested in learning more about the study or in being screened, click here, or call 412-246-6004 or e-mail