Vascular biomarkers to predict response to exercise in Alzheimer's disease: The study protocol

Danni Li, Robin M Thomas, Michael Y Tsai, Ling Li, David M Vock, Susan Greimel, Fang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Exercise interventions are a promising treatment for improving cognition in persons with Alzheimer's disease. This is similar to Alzheimer's disease pharmacotherapies in which only 18-48% of treated patients demonstrate improvement in cognition. Aerobic exercise interventions positively affect brain structure and function through biologically sound pathways. However, an under-studied mechanism of aerobic exercise's effects is n-3 fatty acids in plasma. The objective of this pilot study is to inform a future large-scale study to develop n-3 fatty acids-based prediction of cognitive responses to aerobic exercise treatment in Alzheimer's disease. Methods and analysis: This study will recruit and follow a cohort of 25 subjects enrolled in the FIT-AD Trial, an ongoing randomised controlled trial that investigates the effects of a 6-month moderate-intensity cycling intervention on cognition and hippocampal volume in older adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease over a year. This study will collect blood from subjects at baseline and at 3 and 6 months to assay vascular biomarkers (ie, plasma fatty acids). Global cognition as measured by the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognition (ADAS-Cog) at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months will be used as the main outcome. A multiple linear-regression model will be used with 12-month change in cognition as the outcome and baseline measure of n-3 fatty acids or changes in the ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty-acid levels in plasma at 3 and/or 6 months, randomised treatment group, and their interaction as predictors. Ethics and dissemination: We have obtained Institutional Review Board approval for our study. We obtain consent or assent/surrogate consent from all subjects depending on their consenting capacity assessment. Data of this study are/will be stored in the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). We plan to present and publish our study findings through presentations and manuscripts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere011054
JournalBMJ open
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Exercise
  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids
  • Vascular biomarkers


Dive into the research topics of 'Vascular biomarkers to predict response to exercise in Alzheimer's disease: The study protocol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this