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Brain Power: Resistance Training and Cognitive Function

This study has been completed.
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of British Columbia Identifier:
First received: January 23, 2007
Last updated: December 3, 2014
Last verified: December 2014

Primary Objectives:

1. To ascertain whether a 12-month, twice-weekly or once-weekly resistance training (RT) program will significantly improve executive function in community-dwelling women aged 65 to 75 years old compared with a 12-month, twice-weekly stretch and relax (S & R) program (shame exercise). We will assess executive function by standard neuropsychological tests.

Secondary Objectives:

  1. To describe the neural mechanisms that underpin the observed changes in executive function associated with a 12-month, twice-weekly or once-weekly RT training (by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)).
  2. To investigate whether RT-induced changes in executive function are independently associated with changes in physiological fall risk profile.
  3. To investigate the dose response of RT (resistance training) on bone health as measured by dual energy x-ray and peripheral quantitative computed tomography.
  4. To conduct a one-year follow-up after the formal cessation of the resistance training programs to determine the persisting effect of resistance training on cognitive performance, cortical plasticity, physiological falls risk, and bone health.

Condition Intervention
Behavioral: Exercise Training
Behavioral: Exercise training

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: The Effect of Resistance Training on Cognitive Performance, Cortical Plasticity, and Fall Risk in Women Aged 65-75 Years Old: A 12-Month RCT

Further study details as provided by University of British Columbia:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Cognitive Performance of Executive Function [ Time Frame: 12 months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Functional MRI and physiological falls risk [ Time Frame: 12 months ]

Enrollment: 155
Study Start Date: January 2007
Study Completion Date: June 2008
Primary Completion Date: June 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Twice weekly resistance training for 52 weeks.
Behavioral: Exercise Training
Twice weekly resistance training for 52 weeks.
Experimental: 2
Once weekly resistance training for 52 weeks.
Behavioral: Exercise training
Once weekly resistance training for 52 weeks.
Experimental: 3
Twice weekly balance and tone training for 52 weeks.
Behavioral: Exercise training
Twice weekly resistance training for 52 weeks.

Detailed Description:

Primary Research Question: Does resistance training (RT) significantly improve cognitive function, specifically executive function in older women with a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score equal to or greater than 24 (i.e., cognitively intact) compared with a stretch & relax (S & R; control) program?

Secondary Research Questions:

  1. Are changes in cortical activation associated with RT-induced changes in executive function?
  2. Are RT-induced improvements in executive function associated with lowered physiological fall risk?
  3. Is there a dose-response on bone health with RT (resistance training)?


Study Design: A 12-month, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. Participants: 155 cognitively-intact (i.e., MMSE score > 24), right-handed, sedentary community-dwelling women, aged 65 to 75 years.

Measurement: Measurements will take place at baseline, six month, and trial completion. Standard neuropsychological testing and physiological fall risk assessment will occur at all three measurement sessions. A subset of the participants (20 from each experimental group) will undergo fMRI assessment at baseline and trial completion only. Exercise Classes: Participants will be randomized to a 12-month, twice-weekly or once-weekly RT program or stretch & relax program (control). All exercises will be offered at a Vancouver YMCA with whom we have partnered previously. Sample Size Justification: The sample size of 50 per experimental group (i.e., N = 155) is based on the primary end point of this study, cognitive performance of executive function. SUMMARY: Falls are a major challenge for the senior population. To date, no intervention has significantly reduced falls among those with cognitive impairment. Our immediate primary goal is to test whether RT can improve cognitive performance of executive function; impaired executive function are associated with injurious falls. If this proposed exercise trial proves successful, the RT intervention will be trialed in the future in a larger study powered for falls.


Ages Eligible for Study:   65 Years to 75 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Sedentary (less than twice weekly exercising) women aged 65-75 years old without conditions restricting them from exercising.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00426881

Canada, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5Y 2Z5
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute Research Pavilion
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5Z 1L8
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of British Columbia
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Principal Investigator: Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Ph.D University of British Columbia
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):

Responsible Party: University of British Columbia Identifier: NCT00426881     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: H06-03216
ORSIL 06-1737
ORSIL 05-6933
Study First Received: January 23, 2007
Last Updated: December 3, 2014

Keywords provided by University of British Columbia:
Resistance training processed this record on May 25, 2017