Joyla A. Furlano, Lindsay S. Nagamatsu

Joyla A. Furlano

Title of Presentation:
The effects of resistance training on cognitive health in older adults at-risk for diabetes

Name of Institution:
Neuroscience, Western University, Ontario, Canada
School of Kinesiology, Western University, Ontario, Canada

Oral Presentation

Globally, dementia affects 47 million people, and is a major cause of disability and reduced quality of life among older adults. Research has shown that older adults with type 2 diabetes experience cognitive decline and decreased brain health, and therefore are at high risk for developing dementia. Consequently, older adults at-risk for developing type 2 diabetes (based on body mass and blood glucose levels) are at higher risk for cognitive decline, and intervening at this point may prevent or delay the onset of such decline. One promising lifestyle intervention that has been shown to improve neurocognitive function is exercise. For example, 6 months of aerobic training has been shown to improve cognitive function in individuals at high risk for diabetes, but research has not yet examined whether resistance training can produce comparable results in this population. However, other studies have found that 6 months of resistance training improves cognitive function in other populations of older adults, such as those with mild cognitive impairment. To address whether similar findings will occur in older adults at-risk for diabetes, I am implementing a 6-month resistance training intervention in this population. Specifically, I am examining whether resistance training can improve memory in this population, and whether this will correlate with increased functional activation and volume of the hippocampus, as expected. In addition, I aim to identify strategies and barriers toward working with this population of older adults, and hope to identify factors that contribute to their overall well-being and satisfaction with the program. Overall, the findings from this study have the potential to unveil a cost-efficient intervention strategy to preserve and improve cognitive function in older adults at-risk for diabetes, reduce the prevalence of diabetes and dementia, and improve the well-being and overall quality of life for older adults.