Past studies

How do we get people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia to be physically active?

Laura Middleton

This study explores the effectiveness of centre-based and home-based exercise to help people become more active among people diagnosed with MCI or early dementia. Participants will complete a three-month exercise program and assessments before and after the program.

The neural processes of perceived simultaneity and temporal order in young and old adults using electroencephalogram (EEG).

Michael Barnett-Cowan (PI), Aysha Basharat

This project focuses on understanding how the brain integrates information from the auditory and visual senses. Our research aims to characterize the neuroelectrical as well as the behavioural differences that exist between audiovisual simultaneity and temporal order perception in healthy younger (18-30 years old) and older (60-80 years old) adults by utilizing EEG.

Roving dual-presentation: Audiovisual simultaneity and temporal order judgment tasks.

Michael Barnett-Cowan (PI), Aysha Basharat

This project focuses on understanding the differences that exist in encoding and retrieval of audiovisual stimuli between simultaneity judgment (SJ) and temporal order judgment (TOJ) tasks by utilizing Dual-SJ and Dual-TOJ tasks. Young healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years are tested individually on each of these tasks and their performance is compared between the tasks.

Determinants of motion sickness in real and virtual reality environments.

Michael Barnett-Cowan (PI), Ogai Sadiq

This project works to determine the underlying physiological and behavioral changes induced by different virtual reality contents in children and adults. We are also interested in understanding whether there is a genetic factor that render some individuals more susceptible to motion sickness than others by conducting a genetic analysis of participants' saliva samples. To accomplish this project, we utilize the Oculus Rift gaming system for exposure to virtual reality, the motion sickness questionnaire (Golding, 1998) to understand the participant's motion sickness susceptibility and the simulator sickness questionnaire (Kennedy et al., 1993) for self reports of motion sickness during testing.

Characterizing muscle health in individuals undergoing cancer treatment and cancer survivors using ultrasound.

Egor Avrutin, Caryl Russel and Marina Mourtzakis 

Our study examines ultrasound-based measures of muscle tissue characteristics, and the associations of these tissue measurements to physical function and metabolic health in individuals currently or recently treated for cancer. Loss of muscle mass or deterioration in muscle composition are common side-effects of cancer treatment, using ultrasound imaging we aim to better understand the physiological mechanisms involved.

The lived experience of group exercise participation among women with breast cancer.

Marina Mourtzakis, Margaret Schneider, and Olivia Jones

The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of a group exercise environment among women with breast cancer and/or breast cancer survivors enrolled in the UW WELL-FIT group exercise program.

SYNchronizing, Exercises, Remedies in GaIt and Cognition (SYNERGIC). A randomized controlled double blind trial.

Laura Middleton

This study examines whether exercise, cognitive training, and vitamins can improve cognitive function among people with mild cognitive impairment. Participants will come to the centre for exercise and cognitive training three times a week for five months.

Genetic determinants of multisensory integration.

Michael Barnett-Cowan (PI), Robin Duncan (PI), Adrienne Wise

For over 100 years, research has been investigating how humans integrate multisensory information. While models have been developed to characterize the neural mechanisms of multisensory integration, it has also been shown that individuals perceive space and time differently from one another. The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether or not these differences are the result of genetic variation in genes related to cognition and perception.

Exploring the perceptions and experiences with weight management, diet, and exercise in people with low bone density.

Lora Giangregorio (PI), Jenna Gibbs

This study explores the thoughts, feelings, and experiences with diet and exercise in people over the age of 40 with low bone density. Participants in this study complete an interview about eating and exercise habits, strategies for managing weight, and experiences with diet and exercise; questionnaires about medical history, weight and body image, physical activity, and nutrition; and measurements of height, weight, and body composition. This research will provide important and new evidence on diet and exercise behaviours in people with low bone density to inform strategies for weight management while optimizing muscle and bone strength.

Gait related cortical activity during treadmill and overground walking in young healthy adults.

Bill McIlroy (PI), Mark Laylor

Recent developments in analysis techniques have highlighted unique changes in cortical networks during walking, yet the purpose of these changes are still unknown. The first part of this study aims to use electroencephalography to determine the context-dependent elements of cortical activity between the often-studied treadmill walking, and the often-observed overground walking.

Portable technology driven measurements of balance capacity in adults with cancer history.

Bill McIlroy (PI), Aaron Wallace

The purpose of this study is to further our knowledge regarding standing balance control in adults with cancer history. We hope to better understand the long-term outcomes following cancer treatment through the use of portable force plates, accelerometers, monofilaments and health questionnaires.

Genetic determinants of balance control and cyber sickness in virtual reality.

Michael Barnett-Cowan (PI), Robin Duncan (PI), Jessy Parokaran Varghese, Séamas Weech

Virtual reality technology is rapidly becoming accessible to the wider population, which creates a pressing need to understand why some people experience cyber sickness in virtual reality. This project focuses on identifying the underlying causes for cyber sickness, with a particular emphasis on studying the relationship between genetics, the perception and control of body movement, and cyber sickness susceptibility. The goal of this research is to provide guidelines for future developers and users of virtual reality to follow.

Characterizing the role of exogenous ketones during rest and exercise in male varsity athletes.

A. Russell Tupling Primary investigator (PI), Riley Sonnenburg

Within rodent heart, exogenous ketones and glucose have been shown to increase mechanical efficiency and reduce oxygen consumption when compared to glucose alone. The aim of this study is to determine if exogenous ketones can improve mechanical efficiency within human subjects during an exercise protocol and to characterize the endocrine and energy substrate response to exercise following the ingestion of exogenous ketones.

Designing a wearable band for symptom tracking of individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

James Tung

The purpose of this study is to design and test a wearable device which automates the collection of real time symptom data from individuals with MS. The immediate goal is to validate this data and investigate its utility to inform patients, neurologists, and caregivers of behavioral patterns contributing to symptom onset and severity. The long-term goal of this project is to advance technologies to support healthy lifestyles for these individuals with MS.

Gait algorithms project: Gait profiles and moment to moment changes in dual task gait.

Bill McIlroy (PI), Anton Trinh, Jamie Waugh

To develop and validate gait analysis algorithms for step detection under various activities (e.g. overground walking, treadmill, transitions, stairs), walking conditions (self paced, slow, fast, dual task, max), and conditions (e.g. individuals using gait aids, or demonstrating pathological gait such as those living with neurological or musculoskeletal injury). Using body worn accelerometers, we compare collected data against gold standard spatio-temporal gait parameters.

Exploring Factors that Contribute to Between-subject Variability of Reaction Time

Bill McIlroy (PI), Robin Duncan (PI), Brian Tan

The overarching goal of this work is to better understand and characterize the nature of between-subject variability and the biological markers that may predict individual reaction time performance. While the majority of the literature report on the central tendency of reaction times, this work will explore the reliability and generalizability of both central tendency and dispersion measures in reaction time. Potential genetic associations with reaction time will be explored as possible biological markers predictive of performance.