In collaboration with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Victoria University has received funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRRF) to conduct the study entitled: “The 'Train Smart' Study: Investigating the role of exercise training 'dose' in improving brain blood flow, brain volume, and cognitive function in middle-aged adults".

The study, led by Dr James Broatch, aims to discover how different ‘doses’ of long-term aerobic exercise training affect:

  • brain blood flow
  • age-related brain shrinkage
  • cognitive function.

It will translate this new scientific knowledge into more individualised exercise prescriptions to better prevent the development of dementia.

About the project

Dementia is one of the greatest global challenges for health and social care in the 21st century. Approximately 459,000 Australians are currently living with dementia (~50 million worldwide), and this number is expected to almost triple by 2050. There is currently no cure for dementia; however, recent population-based studies have identified that almost half of dementia cases may be associated with modifiable risk factors, including inadequate exercise.

This project will build the current evidence base in support of an improved exercise prescription to prevent the chronic, and complex, disease dementia.

The investigators involved in this study have both the research and clinical experience in the fields of exercise prescription, dementia, neuroimaging, and clinical psychology to ensure both scientific rigor and participant safety.


Participate in the study

Recruitment for this study has now begun; male and female participants are welcome.

We are looking for cognitively-normal 45- to 65-year-old men and women to participate in one of three different 12-week aerobic exercise training programs to assess their effects on brain and peripheral blood flow/vascular function, age-related brain shrinkage, and cognitive function.

Benefits of participating

As a research participant you will:

  • perform a number of neuroimaging scans (MRI) and neuropsychology (cognitive function) tests at the University of Melbourne/Florey Institute’s Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit
  • be provided with information on your brain and cognitive health
  • train in state-of-the-art facilities at our Footscray Park Campus supervised by qualified exercise physiologists
  • be provided with feedback on your performance in various fitness tests (e.g. VO2max and peak aerobic power) and gain a greater understanding of your own fitness
  • potentially gain significant fitness and brain health improvements.

What participants are required to do

The main commitment for this study will be approximately 50 hours of your time over 15 weeks, which include the following phases:

  • pre-study screening (~1 hour)
  • familiarisation (~3 hours)
  • baseline testing (3 sessions, ~5 hours total)
  • exercise training intervention (3 sessions/week for 12 weeks; ~36 hours total)
  • post-training testing (3 sessions, ~5 hours total).

In addition, 12 weeks after the main testing has been completed, you will asked to perform a post-study follow-up testing (2 sessions; ~4 hours total).

Sign up to the study

If you are between 45 and 65 years old and would like to learn about your brain and cognitive health and receive free fitness training, sign up to participate in the study.

Sign up