Influence of Fitness on Brain and Cognition

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00438347
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 22, 2007
Last Update Posted : November 8, 2016
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Arthur Kramer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of aerobic fitness training on human cognition, brain structure, and brain function of older adults.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Aging Cognitive Ability, General Behavioral: Aerobic Exercise Behavioral: Stretching and toning

Detailed Description:

Recent studies have shown the encouraging effects of fitness training on human cognition, and brain structure and function. Such effects are of great interest both for what may they tell us about the nature of cognitive and brain aging and also for their public health implications. This study will test the hypotheses that: 1) improvements in aerobic fitness of older adults will lead to improved performance on a variety of cognitive processes, and especially those processes that are supported by frontal regions of the brain; 2) improvements in cognitive processes due to enhanced aerobic fitness will be visible on fMRI scans, and will be similar to those of young adults; 3) improvements in aerobic fitness, over the course of a 1 year intervention, will result in increases in gray and white matter volume.

One hundred forty sedentary older adults will be recruited for this study. Participants will be randomized to an aerobic exercise intervention group, or to a stretching and toning control group. Aerobic exercise sessions will be conducted three times a week for one year, beginning at a light to moderate intensity level over the first two months and progressing to a moderate to high level for the remainder of the year. The control group will meet on the same basis as the intervention group, and will participate in an organized program of stretching, limbering, and toning for the whole body that is specially designed for individuals 60 years of age and older.

During this time, participants will exercise, keep a daily exercise log detailing distance walked (routes will be measured and mapped for participants), time spent in aerobic activity, degree of intensity (rating of perceived exertion), general level of affect during exercise, resting and exercise heart rates. Participants will participate in the MRI/fMRI, physiological (cardiorespiratory) and psychosocial testing prior to the beginning of the fitness training intervention, following 6 months of fitness training, and at the conclusion of the 1 year of fitness training.

Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 179 participants
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Influence of Fitness on Brain and Cognition
Study Start Date : April 2006
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 2012
Actual Study Completion Date : May 2012

Group/Cohort Intervention/treatment
group 1
Intervention Group- aerobic exercise
Behavioral: Aerobic Exercise
One hour per day three times a week for one year

group 2
Control Group- stretching and toning
Behavioral: Stretching and toning
One hour per day three times a week for one year

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Behavioral measures [ Time Frame: baseline, 6 and 12 months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. fMRI [ Time Frame: baseline, 6 and 12 months ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years to 75 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Healthy adults over 60

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 60 to 75 years of age (for Sedentary Older Adults)
  • Sedentary Older Adults: no physical activity in last six months; Young Comparison Sample: Moderately active lifestyle
  • Capable of performing exercise
  • Personal physician's examination and consent to participate in testing and exercise or control intervention
  • Successful completion of graded exercise test without evidence of cardiac abnormalities or responses
  • Adequate performance on the Pfeiffer (1979) Mental Status measure - Corrected (near and far) vision 20/40 or better
  • Right-handed
  • Intention to remain in the local area over the study period

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Sedentary Older Adults: self reported physical activity on regular basis (2 times or more per week) in last six months; Young Comparison Sample: sedentary or highly active/athletic lifestyle
  • Any physical disability that prohibits mobility (walking), stretching etc.
  • Depression score on GDS indicative of clinical depression
  • Presence of any implanted devices such as cardiac pacemakers or autodefibrillators; neural pacemakers, aneurysm clips in the CNS; cochlear implants; metallic bodies in the eye or CNS; any form of wires or metal devices that concentrate radiofrequency fields
  • Left-handed
  • Individuals with chronic inflammation (e.g. severe arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, polyneuropathies, Lupus)
  • Intent to move or take an extended vacation (i.e. longer than 1 month during the study period)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00438347

United States, Illinois
Beckman Institute, University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois, United States, 61801
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois, United States, 61801
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Principal Investigator: Art Kramer, PhD Beckman Institute, University of Illinois

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

Responsible Party: Arthur Kramer, Director, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Identifier: NCT00438347     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: IA0102
5R37AG025667-02 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: February 22, 2007    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 8, 2016
Last Verified: November 2016
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

Keywords provided by Arthur Kramer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
Mild Cognitive Impairment
cognition disorders
brain health
psychological aspect of aging
physical fitness