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Home Annual Meeting Aging, the CNS, and Mobility
Aging, the Central Nervous System, and Mobility in Older Adults
2014 CNS Workshop: Prevention and Intervention

This workshop builds on evidence from the first two workshops demonstrating that physical activity and dietary factors modify multiple risk factors associated with mobility disability, including obesity, CVD, metabolic dysregulation, and sedentary lifestyle. We will critically evaluate intervention designs that target these modifiable risk factors using methods to more precisely measure the mechanistic pathways of potential benefit, identified in Workshop 2 (e.g., increasing cerebral blood flow, anti-inflammatory response). We will further consider how variations in intervention exposure periods and dose inform understanding of potential benefits in both CNS and peripheral mobility function. Finally, interventions will be examined for primary and tertiary efficacy and effectiveness in community-based and clinically at-risk samples.

We will review the strengths and limitations of various intervention designs and approaches to address gaps in understanding of the three following factors: 1) Evaluation: To review evidence and proof of concept for methods that evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions using integrated approaches to measure changes in CNS and peripheral mobility; 2) Exposure: To better understand the minimum exposure periods and doses needed to elicit beneficial changes, or plasticity, in the CNS and mobility function, and whether such benefits are maintained post-exposure; 3) Translation: To understand the motivational messages that lead to the effective design and dissemination of large-scale interventions that target community-dwelling older adults and promote sustainability.

Preliminary agenda coming soon.

Understanding how changes in the CNS contribute to mobility limitations has the potential to inform future intervention studies. Read about the three main goals for future work that emerged from the first CNS workshop, published in GSA's The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, here.

Travel Awards

Travel awards will be available to postdoctoral trainees, graduate students, and junior faculty from geriatric programs, aging institutes, and medical schools. Submit your late breaker abstract (details available July 2014) for the opportunity for a travel award funded by NIA. GSA will select up to 10 travel awards, each in the amount of $900 and complimentary registration to attend and participate in the workshop for faculty and research fellows will be made to help defray the cost of attending GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting.  All attendees are expected to stay and participate in the entire workshop. More information on eligibility and how to apply will be announced summer 2014. Questions, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2013 CNS Workshop: Neural Mechanisms of Mobility Impairments

To focus on the neural mechanisms underlying mobility impairments in older age. We will examine potential biological and physiological mechanisms elucidated from laboratory-based clinical studies, animal studies, and genetic investigations. The CNS alterations associated with mobility impairment appear to be related to ischemia, inflammation, and abnormal protein deposition; metabolic, hormonal, and neurotrophic processes; and genetic factors and other pathological processes that disrupt neural networks responsible for gait and balance. The overall objective of this workshop is to identify common precursors of mobility disability that may serve as targets for future preventive and therapeutic interventions.

Supporting Documents:

2012 CNS Workshop: Evidence on changes in the central nervous system control of movement across the life span and in aging

Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and The Gerontological Society of America, this workshop is entitled “Evidence on changes in the central nervous system control of movement across the life span and in aging.” This state-of-the-art workshop offers investigators an opportunity to learn about cutting edge research developments, participate in the creation of recommendations for future research and to network with colleagues and leaders in the field.

The goal of this workshop is to clarify the biological rationale underlying the association between the CNS and mobility. The heterogeneity of physical limitations in older adults remain largely unexplained, even after accounting for peripheral nervous system, musculoskeletal, and cardiorespiratory systems measures. Presenters will review studies indicating that this variance may at least in part result from different degrees of brain plasticity that buffer the disabling potential of other systems’ impairment. This differential for brain compensation may explain not only why the relationship of exposure to risk factors or to neuromuscular impairment with disability is highly variable but also why the response to rehabilitative intervention is quite different from individual to individual. Because inquiry into these phenomena has been accumulating within disciplines that have not traditionally interacted, this workshop seeks to bring together experts in the fields of gerontology, movement science, neurology, and epidemiology from both basic and clinical perspectives to share insights, promote opportunities related to aging, and develop a common framework for future research.

Supporting Documents:

USC DavisThe Annual Scientific Meeting website is sponsored by the USC Davis School of Gerontology. For more information on programs, please visit