Colloquium Information

Arthur F. Kramer, Ph.D.
Swanlund Chair and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Director of Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
University of Illinois

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Walking Towards a Healthier Brain and Mind"

"Populations throughout the industrialized world are becoming increasing sedentary as a result of the changing nature of work and leisure activities.  As a result of these societal changes increases in diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, and forms of cancer are increasing.  Physical activity serves to reduce susceptibility to these diseases.  However, increased physical activity also has direct, and relatively rapid effects on cognition and brain health.  Such results have now been reported, over the course of several decades, in animal studies of physical activity. 

In my presentation I will review research conducted in our laboratory, and the field in general, which has examined the extent to which fitness training and physical activity enhances cognition and brain structure and function of older adults.  The presentation will cover both cross-sectional and intervention studies of fitness differences and fitness and physical activity training.  Studies which assess cognition via both behavioral measures and non-invasive neuroimaging measures, such as magnetic resonance imaging, funtional magnetic resonance imaging, event-related brain potentials, and the event-related optical signal, will be reviewed and discussed.  Finally, I will explore the gaps in the human and animal literature on cognitive and brain health and the manner in which they can be addressed in future research."