Now Seeking Participants: The Building Research in Diet and Cognition Trial (BRIDGE) Trial

Link to CBS Chicago News broadcast about the BRIDGE TrialDo diet and weight loss affect health and brain function of overweight older adults? Help us find out.

We at the University of Illinois at Chicago are conducting a study that looks at the effects of the Mediterranean diet. This diet, traditional in places like southern Italy and Greece, is composed of vegetables and fruits, lean meats and fish, whole grains, beans, and nuts, and uses olive oil as a primary source of fat.

Are you eligible for the BRIDGE Trial? Find out — call our team at (773) 893-0842.

We are now recruiting older adults in the Chicago area to participate in our research study, called the BRIDGE Trial.

We seek men and women who are at least 55 years old and overweight — with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. (Calculate your BMI here.)

Each study participant is randomly assigned to one of three groups:

1) Med-Diet: This group meets every week to learn about the Mediterranean diet. Classes are taught by our registered dietitian. Each class meets for 60 minutes and includes about 15 people.

2) Med-Diet + Weight Loss: This group is similar to the Med-Diet group, but with an additional focus on eating fewer calories to lose weight. Classes are taught by our registered dietitian, have about 15 people, and meet for 60 minutes each week. Classes for this group also include exercise.

3) Traditional Diet: People selected for this group meet once for 60 minutes with our registered dietitian. The dietitian helps participants maintain current eating and activity patterns and weight over the following 14 months. This group receives weekly health newsletters, but is not required to follow a specific diet. After completing the study, participants in this group will meet with our registered dietician to learn about the Mediterranean diet.

Community-Based Classes

Both the Med-Diet and Med-Diet + Weight Loss groups attend classes at a community-based location in Chicago for eight months:

  • In the first session of our study, the groups met at the Caruthers Center of Northeastern Illinois University (700 E. Oakwood Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60653) from June to mid December 2017.
  • We are now recruiting for the second session of our study, which begins soon at Washington Park (5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60637) on Chicago’s South Side. 
  • The location for our third session has not been finalized.

At each site, classes for each group will be held for 60 to 120 minutes each week over eight months. Each class has 15 to 20 people.

Data Collection

As part of this research study, we will ask participants questions and collect blood and stool specimens before, during, and after the study.

Collection of these data takes place at our offices at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1747 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois 60608). We ask questions about basic health and lifestyle, including eating, exercise habits, and quality of life. We also ask a series of questions intended to evaluate brain function. Lastly, we draw a blood sample and ask participants to supply a fecal sample. These samples help us learn how lifestyle choices affect health.

We conduct data collection at the beginning of the study, again after classes are complete (approximately 8 months), and about 14 months after the study begins. At each data collection point, participants are paid for their time and transportation costs.

All information collected in this study is kept confidential and will not be shared with outside parties. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Illinois at Chicago has approved all procedures and materials used in this study.

About this Study

The Bridge Trial is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R01HL129153). Professor Marian Fitzgibbon is the lead investigator of this study.


Find out if you are eligible for this study. Contact the BRIDGE Trial team at (773) 893-0842.

For more information, download the brochure about the BRIDGE Trial (1.4 MB PDF).