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Iowa City, Iowa 52245


Although exercise is known to delay cognitive decline and decrease our risk of Alzheimer's Disease, there is a lack of understanding of how exercise protects the aging brain. The proposed research takes a novel approach to this problem by testing the concept that there are acute, direct effects of exercise in the same brain regions that are affected by chronic exercise training. If the investigators are successful, the acute paradigm will allow us to determine the critical exercise parameters that modulate brain function in humans using only a single exercise dose.

Study summary:

Given the rising proportion of older adults worldwide and the progressive decline in brain function with advancing age, there is a pressing need to develop novel interventions that protect the aging brain. The predominant approach for implementing exercise training to improve brain function is to increase cardiovascular fitness. However, there is mixed empirical support for the effectiveness of this approach. Further, there are also acute effects of exercise within one hour of the cessation of a single exercise session. These effects occur before adaptations related to fitness could occur and animal studies have shown they occur in the same brain regions that benefit from longer-term exercise training. Therefore, the investigators propose the acute paradigm is a tool to probe this early, direct response from exercise in order to determine how best to maximize the long-term benefit of exercise training on the aging brain. This presents a critical need to determine the mechanistic relation between acute and long-term effects of exercise on the aging brain. Our long-term goal is to determine how exercise protects the brain from the adverse effects of aging. In turn, our specific objective in this R21 proposal is to support or refute the concept that a single session of exercise produces acute increases in functional synchrony of clinically relevant brain networks that are related to accrued exercise-training effects in the same brain systems. Our central hypothesis is that the effects of moderate intensity exercise will increase the functional synchrony of the hippocampus with the Default Mode Network, and the Prefrontal Cortex with the Fronto-Executive Network, in the same fashion as a 12-week moderate intensity exercise training program. This hypothesis is based on data showing acute effects of exercise on factors related to neuronal plasticity and excitability in the same brain regions that show long-term effects of exercise in animals. The contribution of the proposed research is significant because it will determine the extent to which the acute exercise paradigm can provide insight into how regular exercise protects the brain from adverse effects of aging. The proposed research is innovative because for the first time the investigators will examine the overlapping neural systems and outcomes associated with acute and chronic exercise in the same individuals. Overall, success in this project will enable future research to study how varying exercise parameters such as mode or intensity affect exercise-induced change in brain function and the timecourse of these effects, as well as the neurobiological mechanisms associated with the direct effects of exercise on the aging brain.


Inclusion Criteria: - Eligible to participate in an aerobic exercise intervention based on the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, and corrected vision of 20/40. - Because our older adult sample is over the age of 40, we will also require completion of a detailed health history questionnaire and further eligibility for the exercise intervention will be determined following approval from a physician that monitored electrocardiography (ECG) response during a maximal aerobic fitness test that is part of the second study visit described below. Exclusion Criteria: - Not between the ages of 60 and 80 years old - Not fluent in English - Score < 26 (out of 30) on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) - Inability to comply with experimental instructions - Qualify as "high risk" for acute cardiovascular event by the published standards of the American College of Sports Medicine - Left-handed - Previous diagnosis of neurological, metabolic, or psychiatric condition, and no previous brain injury associated with loss of consciousness - Inability to complete an MRI



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Michelle Voss, PhD
The University of Iowa

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Iowa City, Iowa 52245
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: March 16, 2018

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