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 Health 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.
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.
We currently have a number of ongoing projects.
- Burning Calories, Building Brains in Perimenopause: A Critical Window to Promote Brain Health in Females (Funding provided by D. Shaw Research Fund)
The primary goal of the study is to assess the impact of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a popular form of aerobic training, on cognitive function and brain health over a 12 weeks HIIT program in perimenopausal women.Status: We will soon be recruiting for this study.
- Refining Exercise Prescription for Mild Cognitive Impairment (Funding provided by Canadian Institute of Health Research)
The primary goal of the study is to assess the impact of aerobic training (i.e. targeted walking) and strength training (i.e. lifting weights) on cognitive function over a 6-month period in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Status: We are actively recruiting community-dwelling older adults, aged 65 to 85 years, who have noticed a decline in either their memory or thinking over time.
- Reshaping the Care Path Post Hip Fracture to Improve Mobility and Quality of Life (Funding provided by Amgen Inc.)
The primary aim of the study is to assess the impact of a home-based exercise program on the prevention of subsequent falls in hip fracture survivors. Status: We are actively recruiting older adults referred by a medical professional to the Falls Prevention Clinic as a result of a fall-related hip fracture in the last 6 months and have returned home post-surgery.
- Reshaping the Path of Vascular Cognitive Impairment (Funding provided by Heart and Stroke of Canada)
The primary aim of the study 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 are no longer recruiting for this study.
- Momnesia: Investigating the neural basis for reduced memory and executive functions across pregnancy (Funding provided by the Women’s Health Institute)
The primary aim of the study is to assess how pregnancy influences cognition and brain function. Status: We are actively recruiting individuals ages 18-40 who have recently (less than 12 weeks) become pregnant with their 1st child.
- Supporting Aging through Green Exercise (SAGE): Comparing the cognitive effects of outdoor versus indoor aerobic exercise
The primary aim of the study is to explore the impact of the aerobic exercise environment on cognitive function and overall health over a 12-week period in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Status: We are actively recruiting community-dwelling older adults, aged 65 to 80 years, who have noticed a decline in either their memory or thinking over time.
Recently Completed Projects
- Action Seniors! (Fundedby Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- Action Seniors! by Video (Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- Buying Time Study (Funding Provided by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the Alzheimer Society Research Program)
- CogMob Study (Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- CogMob-MCI (Funded by Alzheimer’s Society Research Program)
- EXCEL Study (Funded by the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation): A 6-month randomized controlled trial of exercise in older adults with memory complaints.
- Fit Brains (Funded by Mitacs and Rosetta Stone)
- Knowledge translation to optimize mobility independence in older adults: Improving Cognitive & jOint health Network (ICON) (Funding provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- Mindfulness Training Study (Funded by a UBC Unrestricted Research Funds Start Up Grant)
- Promote Study (Funded by Heart and Stroke of Canada, Canadian Stroke Network, & Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- Sleep & Cognition Study (Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- Vitality Study (Funding provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research)