Exercise and Motor Learning

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to determine whether pairing short sessions of cycling exercise with skilled motor practice enhances an individual’s capacity for neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections) and motor learning (the process of acquiring skill movements) in both healthy older adults and in individuals with stroke.

Who is eligible?

  • individuals between the 40 – 85
  • no history of neurological disorders

What does it involve?

This study has multiple parts:

We make every participant do a stress test at the beginning of the study to make sure they are cleared for exercise by our cardiologist. A stress test gives us insight into your heart health and will make sure that you're safe to exercise. We also use this to determine what a high intensity is for you.

The training is a reaching task preformed on the robot located in the lab. Training takes place over 5 sessions.

There are two conditions (groups) for this study Exercise or Rest.
The exercise group will be preforming high intensity exercise on a recumbent bike and the rest group will be watching TV for an equivalent amount of time.

We do assessments before and after training to see if there are changes that occur in the brain.

Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI)

The MRI is a machine that uses magnetic waves to allow us to take images of your brain. We can use this to look at the structure and function of your brain. For more information click here.

 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

We use TMS to assess the excitability and plasticity of your brain. We do this by putting a coil on the outside of your head and stimulating the part of your brain that controls the hand. We then use sensors that we place on your hand to measure how much your muscle moves. For more information click here.

 

 

In total the full study with all the assessments takes 11 days. The days are outlined below.

Day Test / Training Time to complete
1 Cardiac Screening and Testing 1 Hour
2 MRI scan #1 1.5Hour
3 Brain Excitability before and after Exercise or Rest* 2 Hours
4 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
5 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
6 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
7 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
8 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
9 Retention test #1 + MRI scan #2 1 Hour
10 Brain Excitability before and after Exercise or Rest* 2 Hours
 11 Retention test #2 1.5 Hours
Total Time  14 Hours

A branch of this study is a 6 day study looking at moderate intensity exercise on healthy older individuals. This will provide insight into what intensity provides the greatest impact on motor learning.

You're eligible to participate if you are:

  • Between the ages of 55 - 75
  • No history of neurodegenerative disorders
  • No pacemaker

What does it entail?

This study does a stress test to make sure your clear for exercise. You will only do one session of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and then four session of motor training.

Study Day and Time Outline

Visit Test / Training Time to complete
1 Cardiac Screening and Testing 1 Hour
2 Brain Excitability before and after rest and exercise 2.5 Hours
3 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
4 Retention Test 20 minutes
5 Exercise / Rest + Task practice 1 Hour
6 Retention Test 20 minutes
Total Time ~6 Hours

 

Exercise and Motor Learning Participant Form

Hello! If you're interested in participating in our research please fill out the potential participant form below.