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2013 Grants - Gregory
Exercise Training and the Hippocampus in Subjects with Dementia Risk
Sara Gregory, Ph.D.
2013 New Investigator Research Grant
The hippocampus is a region of the brain known to be important for learning and memory. It is also especially vulnerable to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Even people who do not have Alzheimer's disease themselves but have a strong family history of the disease show evidence of decline in the hippocampus.
Studies in animals, and some preliminary studies in humans, suggest that exercise training may slow or prevent declines in the hippocampus in those at high risk for Alzheimer's disease. However, the benefits of exercise training have not been thoroughly studied in people who have a strong family history of the disease.
Sara Gregory, Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed to study the effects of an exercise training program on the hippocampus and brain function in people who have at least one parent diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers will study 18 people, half of whom will participate in the exercise program while the other half do not. The exercise program will last 6 months, and during that time the researchers will measure fitness levels, brain function using cognitive tests, and hippocampal volume using brain imaging. This study will help to determine if exercise training is a valuable way to slow or prevent declines in hippocampal function in people who have a family history of Alzheimer's disease.