Past Research Seminars

Seminar 11 | Angela Roberts, PhD

"80 and Going Strong": The SuperAging Research Initiative

The SuperAging Research Initiative, in a multi-site, longitudinal, natural history study examines adults 80 and over, who are experiencing exceptional aging. Dr. Roberts provides an overview of the SuperAging Research Initiative objectives, past findings, and Western's role in leading the first Canadian research site in this National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research program.

Seminar 10 | Siobhan Schabrun, PhD

Understanding the brain in pain

Understanding the brain’s role in the transition from acute to chronic pain has the potential to provide novel targets for treatment and prevention. This presentation will explore cortical mechanisms underpinning chronic pain and the use of non-invasive brain stimulation interventions to reduce or halt the transition to persistent symptoms.

Seminar 9 | Lindsay Nagmatsu, PhD

Activating the brain through movement

Exercise benefits the brain as well as the body. In this talk we will examine the latest evidence for the effects of exercise on brain health, including the specific structures and functions that it impacts, the effects of different types of exercise, and the underlying mechanisms for how this happens.

2022 Research Seminars

Seminar 8 | Laura Middleton, PhD

Promoting Wellbeing using Exercise for People Living with Dementia

Since there is no ‘cure’ for dementia, alternate therapeutic strategies to promote health, function, and wellbeing of people living with dementia are important priorities. Exercise is one of the most promising strategies. This talk will focus on strategies to support exercise among people living with dementia, including expanding exercise programs and co-designing wellness programs targeted to people living with dementia.

Seminar 7 | Debbie Laliberte Rudman, PhD

Talking about the Aging Body: Critical reflections on possibilities and boundaries shaped through ‘positive aging’ discourses

This presentation highlights the need for critical reflexivity on how the aging body is constructed within ‘positive aging’ discourses. Concerns regarding ageist implications and widening inequities are raised, as is the need for expanding possibilities for aging well.

Seminar 6 | Susan Hunter, PhD

Mobility aids and falls in older adults

Age-related changes in balance and gait increase the risk of falls in older adults. The use of gait aids can facilitate independent mobility and improved community participation. This talk will focus on the prescription, training, benefits, and limitations of gait aid use in older adults, particularly people living with dementia.

Seminar 5 | Shilpa Dogra, PhD

Active Living and Age-Friendly Environments

Older adults engage in high volumes of daily sedentary time; this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This talk will focus on the effect of sedentary time on different aspects of healthy aging, and then highlight novel solutions related to the built environment, technology, and social participation, that can significantly influence movement and mobility to create age-friendly communities and support active aging.

2021 Research Seminars

Seminar 4 | Matt Heath, PhD

An exercise boost to brain health and cognition

This talk outlines how a chronic exercise program benefits executive function in older adults at risk for cognitive decline and will examine the exercise durations, intensities and mechanisms that contribute to improved executive function. The ultimate goal for this talk is to more fully promote the link between exercise and brain health.

Seminar 3 | Anna Garnett, PhD

Social participation and isolation in older adults and their caregivers

Engagement in regular activity is an important determinant of health and well-being as people age. Functional fitness measures such as cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, agility, balance and flexibility are frequently used to determine an individuals’ physical fitness. However, we have chosen to understand how social activity, or a lack thereof, affects the well-being of older adults.

Seminar 2 | Anita Christie, PhD & Michael Marsala, PhD Student

Sex differences in functional fitness in older adults.

Understanding sex differences in older adults and how they respond differently to exercise stimuli can be an important factor in designing exercise programs. This talk discusses the importance of functional fitness and presents a time and sex analysis of a minimum of 5 years of functional fitness assessments in older adults.

Seminar 1 | Charles Rice, PhD

Structural and functional changes in human skeletal muscles with adult aging.

A striking change in old age is loss of muscle mass that leads to diminished strength and functional capacity. Age-related changes in the peripheral motor nervous system is a contributor to a decline in skeletal muscle quantity and quality. There is some evidence that ‘life-long’ exercise can attenuate these peripheral neural changes.