Highlighting the Importance of Physical Therapy for People with Alzheimer’s

Eric Vidoni, PT, PhD, is the recipient of a 2008 New Investigator Fellowship Training Initiative (NIFTI). He hopes to learn more about preventing or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Eric Vidoni, PT, PhD, has always been drawn to neurology research, particularly as it relates to one of the leading causes of death in the United States – Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, about 5 million people aged 65 years or older are living with Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to nearly triple to 14 million over the next 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no known cause or cure for Alzheimer’s. Researchers are rushing to make discoveries that can prevent, cure, or slow the progression of this disease.

Vidoni is associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He also serves as director of the Outreach & Recruitment Core for the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He currently overseas the Kansas Dementia and Aging Research Training Program.

Much of Vidoni’s research focuses on measuring brain health through imaging. His primary goal is to identify mechanisms by which exercise supports optimal brain health. Vidoni’s 2008 NIFTI helped fund his project “Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Executive Function in Early Alzheimer’s Disease.” He looked at the role of exercise in promoting independence and protecting against cognitive decline and dementia.

Vidoni credits a great deal of his success in the research arena to the Foundation and his NIFTI award. “The NIFTI allowed me to pursue my research and go full force into developing a research theme,” said Vidoni. “Competition is fierce in the national training grant setting, so the NIFTI is a really valuable mechanism.”

Vidoni also serves as Scientific Director of the Physical Health Interventions Team (PHIT). PHIT is a clinical trials unit for lifestyle studies including factors such as diet and exercise. Since receiving the 2008 NIFTI award, Vidoni has continued to conduct newsworthy research in this field. His research expertise was highlighted in an interview with PT Pintcast, a podcast that discusses topics in the physical therapy profession. His research has also been featured in the New York Times on two separate occasions discussing the right dosage of exercise and the positive effects of brisk walking in some people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more about the Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the various prevention and treatment research it conducts.

The NIFTI is a 2-year, $100,000 post-doctoral fellowship.

Select Foundation Grants and Scholarships Awarded


Eric Vidoni


  • Ptomey LT, Vidoni ED, Montenegro-Montenegro E, Thompson MA, Sherman JR, Gorczyca AM, Greene JL, Washburn RA, Donnelly JE, “The Feasibility of Remotely Delivered Exercise Session in Adults With Alzheimer’s Disease and Their Caregivers.”  2019 Jun 4:1-8. doi: 10.1123/japa.2018-0298. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Vidoni ED, Perales J, Alshehri M, Giles AM, Siengsukon CF, Burns JM “Aerobic Exercise Sustains Performance of Instrumental Activities of Daily Living in Early-Stage Alzheimer Disease.”  2019 Jul/Sep;42(3):E129-E134.

  • Vidoni ED, Bothwell RJ, Burns JM, Dwyer JR. “Novel recruitment models will drive Alzheimer’s trial success.” 2018 Jan;14(1):117-119. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2017.10.004. Epub 2017 Nov 2.