National Institutes of Health: Academic Research Enhancement Award

Award Date: May 2013


CAY ANDERSON-HANLEY, associate professor of psychology, has been awarded a $329,593 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Aging (NIA) for her project "Cognitive Benefits of Interactive Mental and Physical Exercise for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)."  Awarded through the Academic Enhancement Research Awards (AREA) program, the grant supports faculty and undergraduate research in behavioral interventions to enhance brain health to delay the onset or progression of cognitive impairment. There is growing evidence of the cognitive benefits of exercise, but less is known about combined interventions. Principal Investigator Anderson-Hanley's primary goal is to replicate and extend a recently concluded randomized clinical trial (RCT) investigating interactive physical and mental exercise, “Cybercycling for Cognitive Health.”

Impact: A finding of added cognitive benefit for MCI from interactive physical and mental exercise, over and above either physical or mental exercise alone, could lead to improvements in clinical interventions for delaying onset or slowing progression to dementia. It is hoped that if applied in the broader population that the novel and more motivating form of exercise found in cybercycling, will lead to increased compliance with recommendations for regular exercise and thus also greater cognitive health.