Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Elbin, Robert J.

Reader

Fort, Inza L.

Second Reader

Gray, Michelle

Abstract

The goal of this thesis was to examine the relationship between neurocognitive performance and functional fitness levels among older adults. This is important because the geriatric population is the fastest growing demographic in the United States (USDHHS, CDC & Prevention, 2012). By 2030, the older adult population is expected to double. With the cumulative health effects associated with aging and pathological disease, adults typically experience a normal decline in cognitive function termed age-associated memory impairment (AAMI) (Kramer, Colcombe, McAuley, Scalf, & Erickson, 2005; O’Brien, 1999). It is believed to be a non-progressive disorder. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), on the other hand, is a slightly more aggressive and permanent form of memory loss affecting 27% of adults age 65 and older (Bischkopf, Busse, & Angermeyer, 2002). Therefore, it is imperative to understand, now, the relationship between physical activity and functional fitness as it relates to neurocognitive preservation. Primarily, paper-pencil neuropsychological tests are used to measure cognition (Lovell, 2006). Keywords: aging, cognition, functional fitness, geriatric neuropsychological tests, health-related quality of life, ImPACT, neurocognitive performance, and physical activity

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