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Virtual Reality Exercise and Cognitive Training Program to Prevent Alzheimer's in At-Risk Older Adults


This study will test Exergame, a combination of virtual reality cognitive training games and cycling on a stationary bicycle. The study is designed to combine the effects of physical exercise and cognitive training to improve cognition and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
65 Years N/A All Yes
October 1, 2019
October 1, 2021

  • Cognitive complaint (defined as answering yes to the question: "Do you feel that your memory or thinking skills have gotten worse recently within the last 2 years?")
  • Not engaging in aerobic exercise or cognitive training more than 2 days/week, 30 minutes a session, in the past 3 months
  • Ability to provide written consent
  • Doctor's approval to participate in a supervised exercise program

  • Resting heart rate of greater than 100 or less than 50 beats/min with symptoms
  • Dementia or mild cognitive impairment (self-report, diagnosis, or scoring <26 on the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status test)
  • Evidence that cognitive decline or memory complaints were caused by underlying neurological or psychiatric disorder or chemical dependency, as determined by doctor
  • Current enrollment in another study
  • Symptoms, medical conditions, or other factors that make exercise impossible or unsafe

Aerobic exercise increases aerobic fitness, which in turn improves brain structure and function, while cognitive training has been shown to improve specific neural function. Therefore, combining aerobic exercise and cognitive training may have an additive, or synergistic effect, on improving cognition in older adults. In this research, a unique "Exergame" has been developed and is being tested. The Exergame consists of unique Virtual Reality Cognitive Training (VRCT) games combined with concurrent cycling on a recumbent stationary cycle. The Exergame seamlessly integrates specific cognitive tasks into a virtual environment and is synchronized with cycling to promote cognition. Cycling through an interesting virtual environment is designed motivate and engage the study participant in the exercise, and VRCT could augment cycling's effects on cognition. 

The purpose of this Phase II randomized controlled trial (RCT) is to test the efficacy and additive/synergistic effects of a 3-month combined cycling and virtual reality cognitive training intervention on cognition, aerobic fitness, and physical function in persons with subjective cognitive decline at risk for developing AD. 

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis Minnesota 55455 Recruiting Russell L Spafford, MS

Moai Technologies LLC

  • University of Minnesota

Name Role Affiliation
Dereck L Salisbury, PhD Principal Investigator

Name Phone Email
Russell L Spafford, MS 612-626-6045
Sue Greimel, MS 612-626-9490


Concurrent Aerobic Exercise and Cognitive Training to Prevent Alzheimer's in At-risk Older Adults (The Exergame Study)