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Independent Walking in Older Adults for Brain Health


This study uses mobile health devices to help physically inactive, cognitively normal older adults walk, with the aim of preserving cognitive function.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
65 Years 80 Years All Yes
February 1, 2016
April 30, 2021

  • Physician's clearance for participation in study
  • Physically inactive (less than 60 minutes of structured, moderate intensity physical activity in the past 6 months)
  • Cognitively normal
  • Able to undergo magnetic resonance imaging
  • Able to walk independently
  • Fluent in English

  • Evidence of cognitive impairment
  • Head injury involving loss of consciousness within the past 6 months and/or history of severe traumatic brain injury
  • Major neurological disorder, including dementia, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy
  • Chronic major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • History of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or major vascular event
  • History of falls in the last year resulting in hospitalization
  • Unstable or poorly controlled medical problems, such as heart failure, hypertension, lung disease, significant liver problems or renal failure, treatment of cancer in the past 2 years (other than non-melanoma skin cancer), or HIV-positive

Physical activity studies in older adults in supervised, gym-like settings have shown improved heart and brain health. This study will test the effectiveness of physical activity in a real-world environment using mobile health technologies that track real-time activity.

Half of participants will walk briskly for at least 150 minutes per week for 3 months. Mobile health devices will be used during exercise sessions to help participants reach a specific fitness goal. The other half of participants will participate in a healthy aging education program, receiving print materials and assignments about such topics as nutrition, social activity, and cognitive and social engagement. Researchers will compare the two groups' brain blood flow, memory function, cognitive function, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla California 92093 Recruiting Zvinka Zlatar, PhD

University of California, San Diego

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
Zvinka Zlatar, PhD Principal Investigator University of California, San Diego

Name Phone Email
Zvinka Zlatar, PhD 858-822-7737


A Novel Mobile Health Exercise Intervention in Aging: Brain Perfusion and Cognition