Research

 

Goal

The world’s population is aging – at a rate that is unprecedented in human history. Maintaining both physical and cognitive function is essential for healthy aging and ultimately, for the ability to function autonomously within society. A promising and relatively inexpensive approach to promote healthy aging and functional independence is exercise. The research conducted at the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory will directly contribute to validating exercise as an approach to minimize the impact of cognitive impairment and dementia while optimizing physical function, mobility, and functional independence in older adults.

Methods

We are a clinical research laboratory that incorporates cognitive neuroscience methodology. Our main research projects are randomized controlled trials involving clinical populations. In these trials, we typically acquire clinical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging data. For neuroimaging data, we use a research-dedicated Philips 3T scanner at the UBC MRI Research Centre, a 5-minute walk from our UBC campus laboratory.

We also have an in-house Artinis Oxymon Mk III Near Infrared Spectroscopy system (NIRS) which allows us to see changes in blood flow in the brain. Being able to detect changes in brain blood flow may prove to be a diagnostic tool to better understand changes in brain mechanisms as we age.

Projects

We currently have a number of ongoing projects.

  • Vitality Study (Funding provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
    The primary aim of Vitality is to determine whether a complex mental and social activities program or a group-based exercise training program will combat the cognitive decline in adults who have sustained a stroke.
    Status: We are actively recruiting individuals who have had a stroke at least 12 months ago.  The study is 12 months long, and as a participant, you will be provided with either free exercise classes or free cognitive and social engagement classes.
    For more information regarding this study, please contact our coordinator: Stephanie Doherty at 604-875-4111 x 69313 or cogmob.research@hiphealth.ca
  • Knowledge translation to optimize mobility independence in older adults: Improving Cognitive & jOint health Network (ICON) (Funding provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
    The mission of ICON is to transform how research in cognitive and joint health is used to improve clinical practice and individual self-management. Using digital technology, we will develop ‘knowledge translation tools’ that aim to: 1) improve physical activity to promote joint and cognitive health in older people, and 2) improve the timely use of first-line treatments especially in people with arthritis. The big message is that Dr. Li’s team will engage the power of digital media to ‘put research into action’. The network will modernize the effort to improve the quality of life of older people for the 21st century. The principal investigator is Linda Li (co-PIs are Teresa Liu-Ambrose, John Esdaile, Diane Gromala (SFU)).
  • Reshaping the Path of Vascular Cognitive Impairment (Funding provided by Heart and Stroke of Canada)
    The primary aim of Reshaping the Path of Vascular Cognitive Impairment is to assess the impact of strength training (i.e., lifting weights) on the amount of blockage accumulated in the small arteries of the brain over a 12-month period in persons with vascular cognitive impairment.
    Status: We will soon start recruiting for this study.
    For more information please contact the coordinator: Stephanie Doherty at 604-875-4111 x 69313 or cogmob.research@hiphealth.ca
  • Refining Exercise Prescription for Mild Cognitive Impairment (Funding provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
    The primary aim of Refining Exercise Prescription for Mild Cognitive Impairment is to assess the impact of aerobic training (i.e., targeted walking) and strength training (i.e., lifting weights) on cognitive function.
    Status: We will soon start recruiting for this study.
    For more information please contact the coordinator: Stephanie Doherty at 604-875-4111 x 69313 or cogmob.research@hiphealth.ca
  • Buying Time Study (Funding Provided by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute)
    The purpose of this study is to investigate whether a comprehensive group education combined with a lifestyle “activation” program that includes (a) sleep hygiene course (sleep hygiene are habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis), (b) physical activity promotion, and (c) bright light therapy, can improve both sleep quality and cognitive function among older adults.
    For more information please contact the coordinator: Stephanie Doherty at 604-875-4111 x 69313 or cogmob.research@hiphealth.ca

Recently Completed Projects

  • EXCEL Study (Funded by the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation): A 6-month randomized controlled trial of exercise in older adults with memory complaints.
  • Action Seniors! by Video (Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
  • Promote Study (Funded by Heart and Stroke of Canada, Canadian Stroke Network, & Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
  • CogMob Study (Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
  • Fit Brains (Funded by Mitacs and Rosetta Stone)
  • Sleep & Cognition Study (Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
  • Mindfulness Training Study (Funded by a UBC Unrestricted Research Funds Start Up Grant)
  • Action Seniors! (Fundedby Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
  • CogMob-MCI (Funded by Alzheimer’s Society Research Program)