Dr Jennifer  Heisz Ph.D.

Jennifer Heisz Ph.D.

Associate Director/Faculty Advisor

My research program examines the interplay between brain and body fitness in the promotion of health.

I use brain-imaging methods to explore how neural network dynamics are affected by physical exercise and cognitive interventions for young adults, healthy older adults, and older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A key question is whether cognitive-physical interventions target a particular cognitive ability or generalize to everyday functioning.  An important clinical application of my work is to establish neural biomarkers as screening protocols for the early detection of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

By conducting research among exercisers in PACE community programs—such as the MacSeniors—I am able to study the long-term effects of regular physical exercise on cognitive health. Specifically, my research in PACE focuses on understanding the long-term benefits of exercise on measures of cognitive health, by assessing exercisers’ cognitive performance at regular intervals. This research will help to determine the optimal dose and type of exercise that mitigates cognitive decline in healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment. The ultimate goal of my research program is to understand how lifestyle choices such as exercise can be used for disease prevention.

Dr Heisz's Research

MacSeniors Exercise and Wellness Program

MacSeniors is an exercise and wellness program, offering a supervised regimen of aerobic and resistance training for individuals 55 years of age and older. Read More

CHAMpS Study

Cardiovascular Health And Mobility across a spectrum of Stroke risk (CHAMpS) study aims to gain a better understanding of factors that impact a person’s risk for future stroke. Read More

Using Exercise and Nutrition to Optimize Health in Older Men

The effects of a combined resistance and high-intensity interval exercise training program with nutritional supplementation, on strength and physical function in older men. Read More

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