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Olivia C. Biehl, Jeffrey Katula, Jason Fanning, Anthony Sali, Andrew Wells. Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC.

BACKGROUND: Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia disorders represent a major public health priority. Indeed, Alzheimer’s Disease is the 5th leading cause of death in the US. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, research has shown that physical activity can improve cognitive functioning in older adults. However, the effects of resistance training on cognition in older adults is not well understood. We seek to test whether High Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIIRT) can impact cognition in older adults. The present study aims to test the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial to test the impact of HIIRT on cognition in older adults. METHODS: We are recruiting 30 adults aged 65 years or older for this study. Participants will be randomized into a 12-week HIIRT (n=15) program or a stretching, balance, and range of motion (SBR; n=15) comparison group. All outcome assessments will be conducted prior to randomization and following the 12-weeks of intervention. The primary outcome is executive cognitive functioning and secondary outcomes include brain-derived-neurotrophic factor (BDNF), physical functioning, and several psychosocial measures of behavior change and quality of life. In the HIIRT intervention, participants will attend two group exercise sessions per week and perform two sets of machine-based leg press, chest press, seated row, and shoulder press. Each set will last 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest between sets and 3 minutes between exercises. Participants assigned to the SBR condition will meet twice weekly for 45 minutes each session for 12 weeks to perform a varied rotating routine of stretching exercises and activities to improve balance and range of motion. After completing the 12-week interventions, all participants will be asked to complete the same baseline assessments and have an fMRI scan post-intervention to examine changes in brain activity. Analyses will focus on aspects of feasibility, including recruitment accrual, adherence, retention, and adverse events. To describe the change in the executive function, we will present mean change and variability within each group throughout the study. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: This study will provide important data relative to the feasibility of this research as well as study design benchmarks on which to design a full scale trial.

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