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Fit & Active Seniors Trial (FAST)


This Phase II study will test the hypothesis that a 6-month intervention of combined fitness and cognitive training (in the form of dancing) will have a significant positive effect on executive control and memory processes as well as on brain structure and function. Results for the intervention group will be compared to results for a comparison group that engages in nonaerobic strength and balance control exercises.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 79 Years Both Yes
August 2011
December 2014

++Engagement in 0-2 days of physical activity per week (less than 30 minutes per day) during the last 6 months++Personal physician's examination and/or consent to participate in testing and exercise intervention++Successful completion of graded exercise test without evidence of cardiac abnormalities or responses that are likely to be exacerbated by exercise++Adequate responses to the Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status (TICS-M) questionnaire++Corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better in both eyes; no color blindness++Initial depression score on GDS-15 of more than 10 (no clinical depression)++Ability to communicate effectively in English

++Engagement in regular physical activity more than two times per week during the last 6 months++Evidence of abnormal cardiac responses or conditions during graded exercise testing++Inadequate responses to the Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status (TICS-M) questionnaire++Uncorrectable visual acuity of greater than 20/40 in either eye and/or color blindness++Depression score on GDS-15 of 10 or less (indicative of clinical depression)++Presence of any implanted devices above the waist such as a cardiac pacemaker, cardiac auto-defibrillator, neural pacemaker, aneurysm clip, cochlear implant, or metallic bodies in the eye or central nervous system++History of brain surgery that involved removal of brain tissue; history of stroke or transient ischemic attack++Left-handedness++Intent to move or be away from the study area for more than 3 weeks during the intervention or testing period

A previous trial known as HALT (Healthy Active Lifestyle Trial) suggests that improvements in aerobic fitness have beneficial effects on specific cognitive functions affected by aging. Specifically, executive control processes and the prefrontal and frontal regions that support them have shown substantial and disproportionate age-related declines. In this study, investigators will determine whether improvements in aerobic fitness combined with cognitive training (in the form of dancing) will benefit cognitive functions in older adults.

Half of the participants will be randomly assigned to an aerobic/cognitive training group (dancing), while the remaining half will be randomly assigned to a nonaerobic control group (stretching, strengthening, and stability).

The investigators will examine changes in psychological and physical function brought about by exercise training. Participants will be assessed before and after the intervention. Assessments will include cardiorespiratory testing, physical activity monitoring, performance on neurocognitive tests of executive and non-executive function, measures of brain activation (fMRI) during cognitive tasks, a battery of psychosocial questionnaires, functional performance measures, and a mock street walking task.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Illinois
Urbana Illinois 61801

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Name Role Affiliation
Arthur F. Kramer, PhD Principal Investigator University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Name Phone Email
Susan H. Herrel 217-265-9848


Influence of Fitness on Brain and Cognition II