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Cycling Exercise for Treating Alzheimer's Disease

Active, not recruiting

This clinical trial will investigate the effects of a 6-month cycling exercise program on cognition and hippocampal volume in older adults with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers want to determine if the intervention can slow cognitive decline.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
66 Years N/A Both No
January 2014
April 30, 2021

  • Diagnosis of probable or possible Alzheimer's disease
  • Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 15-26 inclusive; Clinical Dementia Rating score of 0.5-2
  • Community-dwelling (includes assisted living)
  • English-speaking
  • Approved to participate by primary care provider and cardiologist if there is significant cardiac history
  • Alzheimer's drugs allowable if on stable dose for at least 1 month

  • Resting heart rate of ≤50 or ≥100 beats/minute
  • Neurological or psychiatric disorder in the past 5 years
  • Alcohol or chemical dependency in the past 5 years
  • Contraindications to exercise
  • New symptoms or diseases that have not been evaluated by a health care provider, for example, hip fracture, ongoing and unplanned weight loss, severe shortness of breath, deep vein thrombosis, hernia, unhealed sores, joint swelling, pain, or trouble walking
  • Cardiac ischemia or serious arrhythmia shown by electrocardiograph during the screening exercise test

This randomized, controlled trial will investigate the effects of a 6-month, moderate-intensity cycling intervention on cognition and hippocampal volume in people with Alzheimer's disease with three aims:

  • Determine the immediate effect of the cycling intervention on cognition in people with Alzheimer's
  • Examine if the cycling intervention slows cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's over the course of 1 year
  • Assess the effect of aerobic exercise on hippocampal volume in people with Alzheimer's over the course of 1 year

Participants will be randomly assigned to the 6-month cycling program or a stretching/range-of-motion exercise program (20-50-minutes, 3 times a week). Participants will then be followed for another 6 months. Cognition will be assessed at baseline, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Hippocampal volume will be measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at baseline, 6, and 12 months. Transportation will be provided to participants for all study-related activities. Participants who cannot undergo MRI can still participate.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis Minnesota 55455

University of Minnesota-Clinical and Translational Science Institute

  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of St. Thomas

Name Role Affiliation
Fang Yu, PhD Principal Investigator Nursing

Name Phone Email
Susan Greimel 612-626-9490


Aerobic Exercise in Alzheimer's Disease: Cognition and Hippocampal Volume Effects