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Investigating Gains in Neurocognition in an Intervention Trial of Exercise (IGNITE)


This trial will test the effects of 12 months of walking exercise on cognitive performance, brain structure and function, and other biological measures in older adults who are cognitively normal.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
65 Years 80 Years All Yes
September 6, 2017
November 2023

  • Able to walk without pain or the assistance of walking devices
  • Able to speak and read English
  • Exercise less than 20 minutes per week
  • Medical clearance by primary care physician
  • Living in the community for the study duration
  • Reliable means of transportation
  • Ability to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (no metal implants or claustrophobia) 

  • Current diagnosis of a DSM-V Axis I or II disorder including major depression
  • History of major psychiatric illness including schizophrenia (not including general anxiety disorder or depression)
  • Current treatment for cancer except non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Neurological condition, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and mild cognitive impairment
  • Brain injury, including stroke
  • Type I diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Current alcohol or substance abuse
  • Current treatment for congestive heart failure, angina, uncontrolled arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), deep vein thrombosis, or other cardiovascular event
  • Heart attack, coronary artery bypass grafting, angioplasty, or other cardiac condition in the past year
  • Color blindness
  • Traveling consecutively for 3 weeks or more during the study

Participants will be randomly assigned to either moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 150 minutes per week (walking 30 minutes per day) or 225 minutes per week (walking 45 minutes per day), or to light-intensity stretching and toning for 150 minutes per week. Participants will meet three days a week and do home-based activity on two more days per week for a year. Researchers will gather data on cognitive performance, brain structure and function, cardiorespiratory fitness, physical function, and quality of life to determine how the different doses of exercise affect participants' brain health and to compare results among different groups, including those who are at higher risk for Alzheimer's disease. 

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Illinois
Champaign Illinois 15218 Not yet recruiting Edward McAuley, PhD

University of Kansas
Kansas City Kansas 66205 Recruiting Jeffrey Burns, MD
Northeastern University
Boston Massachusetts 02115 Recruiting Arthur Kramer, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 15213 Recruiting George A Grove, Masters
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 51260 Not yet recruiting Tim Verstynen, PhD

University of Pittsburgh

  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
Kirk I. Erickson, PhD Principal Investigator University of Pittsburgh

Name Phone Email
George A. Grove 412-624-4556


Investigating Gains in Neurocognition in an Intervention Trial of Exercise (IGNITE)