Trinity College, Dublin
'D-activating Decline': Exploring the combined effects of exercise and vitamin D3 supplementation on cognitive function in healthy older adults.
Irish Research Council
Due to physiological changes a 70-year old has a 70% reduced ability to produce vitamin D via sunlight compared to a 20-year old. In northern latitudes, such as Ireland, sunlight intensity is insufficient during winter months, this coupled with changing lifestyles means that older people will likely need some vitamin D from supplementation.
There is now considerable evidence linking vitamin D status and exercise with brain health and delay of cognitive decline. This project is focused on exploiting the beneficial effects of exercise to enhance the effect vitamin D is believed to have on cognitive functioning.
Cognitive decline is associated with increased health care costs, neuropsychiatric symptoms, functional disability, and increased risk for progression to dementia. The high prevalence of cognitive impairment, together with rapid demographic ageing, has made it necessary to research modifiable factors that delay cognitive decline and design interventions that are effective, affordable, and well-tolerated in the prevention of cognitive dysfunction at older age.
This PhD will make a novel contribution to the literature and if evidenced will inform future health promotion strategies. This research will design and test a scalable multimodal intervention that is hypothesized to likely delay cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia.