Exercise for Memory Rehabilitation in Epilepsy

  • End date
    Mar 15, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
Updated on 15 August 2021


The purpose of this study is to determine how effective a 6-week exercise program is for improving memory compared to a no-intervention control group, investigate the brain changes that may be responsible for memory improvements, and determine if the memory benefits and brain changes are retained 6 weeks after completing the exercise intervention in people with Idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE).


The primary objectives of this randomized controlled trial are to determine in adults with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) the efficacy of a 6-week supervised and structured exercise program combining endurance and resistance training for memory rehabilitation, investigate a putative mechanisms of action for exercise-related memory benefits, and determine if the memory benefits and brain changes are retained 6 weeks after completing the exercise intervention. Based on the investigators' pilot exercise data in adults with epilepsy, they hypothesize that exercise will significantly improve verbal memory function in the exercise group compared to the no-intervention control group. The investigators also hypothesize that the verbal memory improvements are mediated by the changes in resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a vital role in memory function. The investigators propose a mediation model in which exercise-induced changes in the hippocampus rsFC is mediating the beneficial effect of exercise on memory function in epilepsy, and will utilize the causal-steps approach in which 4 conditions of statistical significance must be met to determine if mediation is present.

Condition generalized epilepsy, Memory impairment, Memory Problems, impair memory, bad memory, disturbance of memory
Treatment Supervised combined endurance and resistance training (CERT), Delayed supervised combined endurance and resistance training (CERT)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04959019
SponsorUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham
Last Modified on15 August 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

males and females
ages 18-55 years old
subjective memory complaint (defined as answering "yes" to the following question: Do you feel that you have problems with your memory, whether it is a result of your epilepsy or due to your anti-seizure medications?)
speaks English fluently
able to provide written informed consent
have no contraindications to 3-Telsa MRI
EEG-confirmed diagnosis of IGE (IGE includes epilepsy syndromes such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, juvenile absence epilepsy, childhood absence epilepsy, and generalized tonic-clonic seizures alone)
relatively healthy with no comorbid medical conditions besides epilepsy
normal pre-enrollment structural clinical MRI of the brain
no more than 4 seizure days/month in past 6 months
having less than the American Heart Association recommendation of physical activity in adults (at least 30 min moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days/week (150 min total), or at least 25 min vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days/week (75 min total) and moderate-/high-intensity muscle strengthening activity at least 2 days/week)

Exclusion Criteria

underlying degenerative or metabolic disorders
abnormal general or neurological examination
abnormal brain MRI
recent suicidal ideation in the last 3 months determined based on previous medical history
pregnant or positive pregnancy test result on the day of the research session
contraindication to an MRI scan at 3-Telsa
mental handicap (FSIQ<80 if tested) or history of special education
>4 seizure days/month in past 6 months
concurrent participation in a different intervention study
diseased or enlarged heart or blood vessels determined based on previous medical history
high blood pressure that is not controlled by medications
meeting the American Heart Association recommendation of physical activity in adults
abnormal physical examination in which study physician determines subject should not participate in the exercise intervention
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