Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Matthew Shake, Jason Crandall, Amy Brausch

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


It is crucial to develop efficacious prevention and intervention programs that engender healthy cognitive aging. While some cognitive changes are normal with aging, a variety of diseases, chronic conditions, and/or modifiable behaviors can exacerbate those declines. For example, Type 2 diabetes has been linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults. While past research suggests that physical activity may prevent or delay normative cognitive declines associated with aging, the impact of physical activity on diabetes related declines remains understudied. Another factor shown to impact cognition is nutrition, with some research suggesting that certain nutritional elements (e.g., vitamins and minerals) or diets are predictive of better cognitive functioning.

Thus, research suggests that nutrition and physical activity may be two modifiable ways to improve cognition among at-risk older adults. The present research study utilizes data from a recent clinical trial of Bingocize®, a novel exercise intervention that combines the game of bingo with physical activity, to address these gaps in the literature by exploring the relationship between physical activity and diabetes-related cognitive declines, as well as the relationship between the intake of fruits, vegetables, and legumes (FVL) and cognitive performance in older adults.

Overall, the results suggest minimal impact of both diabetes and FVL intake on older adults’ cognition. Contrary to past research, diabetic participants were found to produce more words on a task of phonemic fluency, as well as repeat more previously given words than nondiabetic participants. The results also suggest that physical activity did not differentially

impact cognitive performance among diabetics in the sample. Surprisingly, a higher intake of FVL was associated with a greater number of rule violation errors made on a categorical fluency task. However, while all participants seemed to improve on the dot counting task, those with higher intake of these foods saw differentially greater improvements than those with lower intake. Given these findings, the outcomes of this recent Bingocize® clinical trial build upon the existing literature and provide new insight into the relationships between diabetes, physical activity, and cognition, as well as the relationship between nutrition and cognition among older adults.


Cognitive Psychology | Exercise Science | Kinesiology | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology | Public Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Available for download on Friday, March 26, 2123