Research shows the majority of healthy individuals have potential for maintaining intellect, capacity for learning and consistency in decision-making through their adult life when they remain mentally, physically and socially engaged. Instead of focusing solely on a decline in cognitive capacity, research at the Center for BrainHealth continually uncovers ways to capitalize on the brain’s dynamic capacity to be strengthened.

Physical health and brain health

Center for BrainHealth researchers published findings from an important study that investigated the cognitive and structural brain changes associated with exercise in adults 60-75 years old. In the study, participants engaged in cardiovascular exercise three times a week for one hour. BrainHealth researchers found that exercise increased blood flow to the medial temporal lobe, which controls memory. Both cognitive training and aerobic training are important to brain health, but in different ways – with aerobic training improving brain blood flow to the brain in general and SMART training improving brain blood flow to the frontal lobes.

Scientists documented that the brain training of deeper-level thinking carries over into untrained areas allowing individuals to more effectively assimilate, manage and utilize information. This revolutionary research shows just how tied together brain health and physical health are, and allows Center researchers to establish the differential benefit of either mental or physical exercising on robust brain function and preventing cognitive decline.

In a collaborative national research project, Center for BrainHealth researchers examined the impact of strategy-based cognitive training in individuals faced with complex medical decisions.

A National Institute of Health-funded grant aims to yield new discoveries about basic mechanisms of age-change in neural and vascular function and how these changes are tied to performance.

Recent discoveries
  • Strategy-based cognitive training has the ability to reverse age-related brain decline in adults over 50, according to a randomized clinical trial conducted by the Center for BrainHealth. Findings show the capacity to increase whole brain flow in the healthy aging population after complex brain training.
  • Mentally challenging activities can positively alter one’s brain structure, according to a series of randomized clinical trials conducted by the Center for BrainHealth. This brain training was found to also improve physical fitness activities.