Study Basics

This experiment investigates how the mechanisms of physical activity may influence the brain. Specifically, we are interested in how a brief session of physical activity may influence cognition in children, which we will measure by assessing performance on cognitive tasks, electroencephalography (EEG), and salivary sampling.

Study Purpose

There is a growing public health concern for physical inactivity among children in the U.S. Despite widespread health campaigns, children have become increasingly inactive leading to increases in the prevalence of being overweight and unfit. Physical inactivity during childhood tracks into adolescence and adulthood, resulting in earlier health complications and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. However, largely absent from public health concerns is the effect of physical inactivity on brain health and cognition. This study aims to examine mechanisms that support the role of physical activity on brain function, cognition, and academic achievement in children. The overall goal is to increase the health and wellness of children, providing a basis for lifelong health.


Could this study be right for you?

If your child is between the ages of 9-10 years old and has not been diagnosed with ADHD, then they should qualify for this study. There will also be a drooling portion when they come in person to see if they qualify or not.

What participants can expect

  • 1st In-person Day
    • You and your child will review the study ad and agree to participate if you wish. Your child will then answer some questions and complete a few surveys about what hand they like to use, what they eat, and how they feel. Your child will get to complete an exercise test on the treadmill to find out their peak heart beat range and have their body composition measured. We will also have your child play some brain games on the computer.
  • In-person Days 2-4
    • Your child will be asked to walk on a treadmill, complete classroom-like activities, and read quietly. These three events will differ on each of the days. Then, your child will complete a brief cognitive task on the computer while we assess their brain waves (using an EEG cap- similar in appearance to a swim cap). Finally, your child will complete several paper and pencil questionnaires.
  • Optional Blood Draw Visit
    • Your child will come to the lab in the morning, after fasting for 10 hours. We will have your child sit in our blood draw room with our nurse, who will draw the blood from their arm, just like a doctor’s office. After, we will provide your child with some snacks and water and make sure they are well before returning home.



4 study visits, 5th is optional

1-3 hours

Center for Cognitive and Brain Health

This is an NIH funded R01 research grant for randomized clinical trials. We collect salivary, neuroimaging, and behavioral outcomes and store all data de-identified in a HIPPA compliant database. None of the information you provide will be linked to you or your child.

If you are interested, please contact the research coordinator, Allie Hill, at 617.383.9318 or  We are actively recruiting new subjects!