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Exploring the impact of exercise on brain health in older people

11 December 2019
What type of exercise is best for the brain?
Researchers are looking for people aged 60 and over to participate in a research study exploring the impact of different types of exercise on brain health in older people with early thinking or memory problems.

The research, being conducted simultaneously at the University of Sydney, University of Queensland and University of British Columbia (Canada), will recruit 500 participants to look at the effectiveness of three different types of exercise.

It is vital that we explore the potential of exercise for brain health given it is such a simple, accessible and potentially cost-effective intervention,
Prof Fiatarone Singh

Chief Investigator Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh MD, from the University of Sydney said the latest research suggests keeping the mind and body active may benefit cognitive function and dementia risk, however further research is needed to understand this complex process.

“This is the first research study of its kind to directly compare how three different types of exercise affect the rate of decline in brain function in older people who don’t have dementia but have some early concerns about their memory or thinking,” said Professor Fiatarone Singh, John Sutton Chair of Exercise and Sport Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences and a member of the Charles Perkins Centre.

Prof Maria Fiatarone Singh

Prof Maria Fiatarone Singh

Participants in the research study will be randomly allocated into one of three groups focusing on balance, resistance or aerobic interval training.

They will train two to three times a week for 12 months under the supervision of experienced health professionals at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences campus in Lidcombe.

Researchers will assess participants’ memory, health and physical function before and after the 12-month exercise intervention.

“Dementia is a serious and growing problem for individuals, families, the community and governments. It is vital that we explore the potential of exercise for brain health given it is such a simple, accessible and potentially cost-effective intervention,” said Professor Fiatarone Singh.

Participant information

The University of Sydney is looking for people aged 60 and older who have memory concerns, but do not have dementia, to join the BRAIN Training Study. This study will look at the effect of three types of physical exercise on your brain health and physical function.

If you are interested in assisting with this research study, read more about the study and eligibility guidelines or contact 02 9036 7418 or fhs.brainstudy@sydney.edu.au.


Declaration: The randomised controlled trial is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Sydney (Project Number 2017/368).

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