Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

Exercise, Age-Related Memory Decline, and Hippocampal Function

Exercise, Age-Related Memory Decline, and Hippocampal Function

Overall Status: 
Active, not recruiting
Brief Description: 

The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that aerobic exercise leads to increased blood volume in the brain, specifically in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, in a sample of young and older adults.

Patient Qualifications: 
Min AgeMax AgeGenderHealthy Volunteers
20 Years
65 Years
Inclusion Criteria: 
    • Age 20-35 years or 50-65 years
    • English-speaking
    • Ambulatory
    • "Average" fitness as determined by AHA standards
Exclusion Criteria: 
    • Ischemic changes, abnormal blood pressure responses, or significant ectopy (abnormal position of an organ or body part) during aerobic capacity testing
    • Cardiovascular disease or uncontrolled high blood pressure (systolic blood pressure ≥ 180 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 105 mmHg)
    • Current or recent nonskin neoplastic disease or melanoma; prostatic carcinoma is acceptable
    • History of renal impairment; active hepatic disease or primary renal disease requiring dialysis; primary untreated endocrine diseases such as Cushing's disease, primary hypothalamic failure, or insulin-dependent diabetes; well-treated hypothyroidism is acceptable
    • Other prohibited conditions: HIV infection; past or current history of severe breathing difficulty that has been treated by a physician (e.g., asthma, COPD); hay fever; sickle cell disease; kidney disease
    • Pregnant or lactating (participation allowed 3 months after ceasing lactation)
    • History of psychosis, electroconvulsive therapy, or psychotic disorder; current or recent (past 5 years) major depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder
    • Current or recent (past 12 months) alcohol or substance abuse or dependence; recent use (past month) of recreational drugs
    • Prohibited medications: medications or dietary supplements that affect inflammation or the autonomic nervous system
    • Cardiac pacemaker; internal or insulin pump; neurostimulator; vena cava filter; heart valve
    • Tattoo eyeliner; metal fragments in body; metal stents; brain aneurysm or vascular clips; breast expander; machinist or ever worked with heavy metals
    • Contraindication to gadolinium, including prior adverse reaction
Detailed Description: 

The overall goal of this proposal is to use the high-resolution variant of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the hypothesis that aerobic training will induce improvements in the function of a specific brain subregion, the dentate gyrus (DG), in a sample of younger (age 20-35) and older (age 50-65) adults. Participants will be assigned randomly to an active training condition or wait list control group. Investigators will use comprehensive neuropsychological testing to examine the relationship between changes in DG function and select cognitive capacities.

A range of studies have examined the dentate gyrus (DG) as the hippocampal subregion differentially targeted by the aging process. Physical exercise has been shown to improve both frontal lobe and hippocampal function. Previous studies in both humans and mice have shown that aerobic training selectively benefitted DG function. Investigators hope to show that physical exercise is an effective approach for ameliorating age-related cognitive decline.

Map Marker CityStateZip CodePrimary Contact

Geolocation is 40.8409822, -73.9447994

Columbia University Medical Center
New York
New York
Lead Sponsor: 
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Collaborator Sponsor: 
Facility Investigators: 
Richard P. Sloan, PhD
Principal Investigator
Columbia University
Study Contact: 
Richard P. Sloan
Locations ID 
NCT01329653 (follow link to view full record on in new window)
Official Title: 
Exercise, Age-Related Memory Decline, and Hippocampal Function
Study Start Date: 
June 2011
Study End Date: 
July 2015