Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Visiting speaker: Angela Clow, University of Westminster

Date and time: Tuesday 29th May, 4:00pm, room CG01.

Title: “Links between physical activity, cortisol secretion and cognitive function."

Increased physical activity is linked with positive benefits for cognitive function as well as physical health.  This talk will explore proposed mechanisms behind this association.  In particular it will examine the role of neuroendocrine function and the impact of stress and well-being.  New findings linking the cortisol awakening response (CAR) with improved cognitive function following an exercise intervention for Mild Cognitive Impairment as well as evidence linking the CAR with brain plasticity will be presented. As the CAR is regulated by the central ‘master’ clock (the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus) the impact for cognition of cortisol as regulator of peripheral ‘slave’ clocks will be discussed.

Angela Clow is a Professor of Psychophysiology based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster.   Angela is trained in neuroscience and psychology and likes to work at the interface of these disciplines.  For her PhD (Institute of Psychiatry, London) she explored the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs, during her post-doctoral studies (Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London) she developed an interest in the biochemistry of stress. In 1989 she joined the University of Westminster where she became a founder member of the interdisciplinary Psychophysiology and Stress Research Group.

Her current research investigates the physiological pathways by which stress and well-being can affect health and performance.  In particular she studies daily patterns of cortisol secretion, a hormone important in the regulation of day-night cycles as well as stress responding.  She is particularly interested in the ways exercise, light and season can affect health and performance.  Her work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, ESRC, NIHR, the British Academy and the Nuffield Trust.  She has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers, 5 books, and 28 book chapters or reviews.  Angela is a National Teaching Fellow and a frequent public speaker.

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