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Approved research

Tailoring exercise to maintain cognitive health: Is benefit moderated by genetics and gender?

Principal Investigator: Dr Belinda Brown
Approved Research ID: 45567
Approval date: July 3rd 2019

Lay summary

Dementia is set to place considerable social and financial burden on society in the coming decades, yet there remains no effective drug that can delay the onset or reduce the progression of the disease. Previous research has identified that more physically active older adults have a reduced risk of dementia and perform better on memory and thinking tasks. Nevertheless, in intervention trials, which involves exercise being administered to participants above their usual habits, benefits to brain health are not as consistently observed. This is likely due to the variable effect of physical activity on brain health across the population, based on a variety of factors (i.e. such as genetics and gender). The proposed project aims to thoroughly explore the relationship between physical activity participation and brain health (using measures of memory and thinking and brain volume from brain imaging) in older adults from the UK BioBank dataset. More specifically, this project will evaluate the different responses to physical activity across the population, by determining whether different genetic factors or gender play a role in the benefits gained from physical activity (in relation to brain health). Based on the planned analysis, we estimate this project will take 12 months to fully complete. In addition, a request for further long-term follow-up data may be made, which could further extend this project. Given physical activity is an easily accessible modality, it is vital that we maximise its use for the prevention of memory decline and dementia in older adults. Ultimately this research aims to contribute to a decreased number of individuals living with dementia worldwide.!