Researchers awarded $3.3 million NIH grant to study cognitive intervention for sedentary seniors

Researchers at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently announced they have received a $3.3 million grant from the NIH to study the effectiveness of cognitive training programs in improving the mobility of sedentary seniors.

The single-blind randomized clinical trial will test the use of a computerized cognitive remediation program to improve sedentary seniors’ gait and mobility, according to study co-leader Joe Verghese, MBBS, director of Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain; chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Montefiore and Einstein; professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and of Medicine; Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology; and director of the Division of Cognitive and Motor Aging at Einstein.

“Emerging evidence indicates that the management of cognitive processes plays a vital role in maintaining movement and preventing mobility disabilities as we age,” Verghese said. “However, the use of cognitive training programs to improve executive functions as a strategy to increase mobility has not been widely studied. If the outcome of this study is positive, it may provide insight for future mobility treatment options that may actually prevent disabilities in older Americans.”

The study will randomize a group of 420 sedentary seniors into either a computerized cognitive training program or a health education control program for 8 weeks. The researchers will assess participants’ gait, mobility and cognitive abilities before the trial, after the intervention and at 6 and 12 months post-trial.

“Our ongoing neuroimaging research projects on mobility and executive function in aging are helping to map brain functions that control movement and provide insight into how the brain balances competing demands,” Roee Holtzer, PhD, professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein and co-leader of the study, said. “This new clinical trial can take the lessons learned from this research and build evidence-based interventions that can meaningfully improve lives.”


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