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Study Basics

Are you between 65-80 and interested in virtual reality technology? Are you able to walk with no pain or assistive device (ex. cane, walker, scooter)? If so, you may be able to participate in a research study designed to understand the effects of exergaming in virtual reality on cognitive function and brain health in older adults. Compensation provided.

Study Purpose

The NAVIGATE study plans to investigate the effects of a single bout of physical activity in virtual reality (VR) on changes in cognitive performance in young adults (i.e., 18-30 years old) and older adults (i.e., 65-80 years old). This study seeks to determine the cognitive implications from integrated physical activity during a cognitive training task that takes place in a VR environment. A cognitive battery will be used to assess changes in working memory performance from VR physical activity training. The results from this study will provide preliminary information about potential transference from cognitive training in VR and could advance scientific-based policy and health care recommendations for novel ways to enhance cognitive functioning in older adults.

Could this study be right for you?

  • Between the age of 18-30 years or 65-80 years old
  • Able to speak, read, and write English
  • Able to walk without assistance of a walking device and able to complete exercise on a treadmill
  • No diagnosis of a neurological disease or certain medical conditions which would limit performance on cognitive tasks or completion of exercise
  • AGE: 65 - 80 or 18 - 30
  • VISITS: Six 2-hour appointments
  • LOCATION: Center for Cognitive and Brain Health

NAVIGATE will examine the relationship between 20-minutes of aerobic exercise in a cognitively enriching environment and cognitive performance in late adulthood (ages 65-80). We will collect a battery of cognitive, fitness, and psychosocial measures. Participants will complete three 2-hour appointments. THIS STUDY IS NOW OPEN FOR RECRUITMENT!

Please call 617-433-8260 or email to participate.

What participants can expect

  • Session 1
    • During the first session, you will complete some cognitive tests using paper and pencils and a computer. Our staff will help administer these and answer any questions you may have. You will then learn about the virtual reality exercise platform and practice the game. This session will take about 2 hours total.
  • Session 2 – Fitness Assessment
    • During the second session, you will complete an exercise test. At this time, we will ask you to walk on a treadmill while wearing a plastic mask. While walking, you will also be asked to wear non-invasive sensors that will monitor your heart activity and a blood pressure cuff. ¬†This will be done with trained specialists and is used to understand your physical abilities. The third session takes about 2 hours.
  • Sessions 3 – 6
    • During the remaining four sessions, you will complete a 20-minute exercise session while wearing the virtual reality technology. You will be trained how to use the equipment during the first session. You will wear a heart rate monitor on your chest to record your physiological responses. After the virtual reality exercise, you will complete cognitive tests on a computer. These sessions will take about 1.5 – 2 hours each.

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