Public Release: 

Montefiore and Einstein receive funding from the National Institutes of Health to research the impact of cognitive training on mobility

Investigators to study cognitive intervention to improve physical function among sedentary seniors

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

NEW YORK (September 30, 2015) - Researchers at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine have been awarded a $ 3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore cognitive training programs among the elderly as a strategy to improve their flexibility and agility. The funding will be used to develop effective interventions with the goal to improve cognitive functions and in turn enhance mobility.

Disability in seniors can lead to major medical and socioeconomic consequences, and often occurs when activities of daily living, such as walking, shopping, house work, and other forms of physical exercise are neglected. The NIH funding will support the first single-blind randomized clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a computerized cognitive remediation program on improving locomotion in sedentary seniors, a group at high risk for disability.

"Emerging evidence indicates that the management of cognitive processes plays a vital role in maintaining movement and preventing mobility disabilities as we age," said study co-leader Joe Verghese, M.B.B.S., director, Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain; chief, Division of Geriatrics at Montefiore and Einstein, and professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and of Medicine, the Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology, and director, division of cognitive and motor aging at Einstein. "However, the use of cognitive training programs to improve executive functions as a strategy to increase mobility has not been widely studied. If the outcome of this study is positive, it may provide insight for future mobility treatment options that may actually prevent disabilities in older Americans."

The study will include 420 sedentary seniors who will be randomized into eight-week computerized cognitive training or health education control programs. All participants will receive gait, mobility and cognitive assessments at the start of the trial, post-intervention and at six and twelve months after the trial to measure outcomes.

"Our ongoing neuroimaging research projects on mobility and executive function in aging are helping to map brain functions that control movement and provide insight into how the brain balances competing demands," said Roee Holtzer, Ph.D., professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein and co-leader of the study. "This new clinical trial can take the lessons learned from this research and build evidence-based interventions that can meaningfully improve lives."

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About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is a premier academic health system and the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Combining nationally-recognized clinical excellence with a population health perspective that focuses on the comprehensive needs of the communities it serves, Montefiore delivers coordinated, compassionate, science-driven care where, when and how patients need it most. Montefiore consists of six hospitals and an extended care facility with a total of 2,080 beds, a School of Nursing, and state-of-the-art primary and specialty care provided through a network of more than 150 locations across the region, including the largest school health program in the nation and a home health program. The Children's Hospital at Montefiore is consistently named in U.S. News' "America's Best Children's Hospitals." Montefiore's partnership with Einstein advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. The health system derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community, and continues to be on the frontlines of developing innovative approaches to care. For more information please visit http://www.montefiorehealthsystem.org. Follow us on Twitter; like us on Facebook; view us on YouTube.

About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Einstein is home to 743 M.D. students, 275 Ph.D. students, 103 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 313 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 2,000 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2013, Einstein received more than $150 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center -- Einstein's founding hospital, and three other hospital systems in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island, Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.

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