Study Basics

Are you between 65-80 and looking to become more active? Are you able to walk with no pain or assistive device (ex., cane, walker, scooter)? If so, you may be able to participate in a research study designed to help find out if a 12-month moderate exercise program can improve cognitive function and brain health in older adults. Compensation provided.

Study Purpose

As a person ages, normal changes in the brain can affect mental function. Common age-related problems include an inability to remember things, difficulty finding words, problems with multi-tasking, and trouble paying attention. Some research has shown that physical activity may help to maintain and improve brain health in older adults. The purpose of this study is to find out if a moderate intensity exercise program can improve brain health and cognitive function (the ability to maintain attention and remember things) in older adults. Researchers hope their findings will lead to specific recommendations about how much and what type of exercise seniors need to maintain their brain health.


Could this study be right for you?

  • Ages 65-80
  • Looking to become more active
  • Able to walk with no pain or assistive device (no cane or walkers)

What participants can expect

During an initial assessment, you will be asked to complete assessments to learn about your level of physical fitness, cognitive function (the ability to maintain attention and remember things), and body composition. If you qualify for the study and choose to continue, you will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to participate in one of three exercise programs. Two of the programs involve aerobic exercise, and one is a stretch and tone program. All of the exercise programs require 3 weekly sessions with a member of the study team and you may also be asked to exercise at home. During follow-up visits, all participants will have their blood drawn, and will also have DXA scans to measure body composition, pulse wave velocity tests to assess blood vessels, and MRI (which does not involve radiation) scans to look at brain health.


65 – 80

14 Months


Center for Cognitive and Brain Health

This is a Phase III, NIH funded, randomized clinical trial. IGNITE will examine the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive and brain function in late adulthood (ages 65 – 80). We will be collecting a battery of cognitive, fitness, neuroimaging, body composition, brain amyloid levels, psychosocial, physical function measures, as well as blood-based biomarkers to examine the outcomes and mechanisms of the intervention. Participants will be randomized to one of three different exercise groups that will meet 3 times per week for 1 year. THIS STUDY IS NOW OPEN FOR RECRUITMENT! 

Please call 617-373-8060 or email to participate.