Amber Watts, PhD

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Psychology
Associate Professor
Primary office:
785.864.2604
Fraser Hall
Room 417
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045-7556


Summary

My research investigates health behaviors, prevention strategies, and bio-behavioral processes associated with cognitive decline & dementia. My current research projects focus on the effect of physical activity on health and cognitive function in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease in cooperation with the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center in Kansas City. My research laboratory is called the Behavioral Research in Aging, Neuroscience, Cognition, and Health (BRANCH) Lab.

Teaching

I primarily teach graduate and undergraduate courses in Clinical Neuroscience, Behavioral Genetics, and Research Methods

Teaching Interests

  • Clinical neuroscience
  • Behavioral Genetics
  • Biological Foundations of Psychopathology
  • Statistics and Research Methods

Research

Some current research projects in my lab include: 1) use of portable electronic devices to measure physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease, 2) intervention to reduce sitting time in individuals with mild cognitive impairment 3) Lifestyle Enrichment for Alzheimer's Prevention (LEAP! program) 4) expectations about aging and how they influence health behaviors and health outcomes, 5) the interaction of genotypes and physical activity on cognitive function

Research Interests

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Aging
  • Physical Activity
  • Health
  • Older Adults
  • Accelerometry
  • Sleep
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Lifestyle Interventions
  • Neighborhoods

Selected Publications

Montgomery, R., Watts, A., Burns, N., Vidoni, E., & Mahnken, J. (2018). Evaluating paired categorical data when the pairing is lost [Journal Articles]. Journal of Applied Statistics, 46(2), 351–363. https://doi.org/10.1080/02664763.2018.1485013
Khou, C., Rendzia, B., & Watts, A. (2018). Evaluation of waist-worn actigraphy monitors for the assessment of sleep in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease [Journal Articles]. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 5, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1177/2055668318777989
Watts, A., Andrews, S., & Anstey, K. (2018). Sex differences in the impact of BDNF genotype on the longitudinal relationship between physical activity and cognitive performance [Journal Articles]. Gerontology, 64, 361–372. https://doi.org/10.1159/000486369
Watts, A., Garnier-Villarreal, M., & Gardiner, P. (2018). Sitting time in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease [Journal Articles]. Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour, 1(2), 70–78. https://doi.org/10.1123/jmpb.2018-0002
Varma, V., & Watts, A. (2017). Daily physical activity patterns during the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease [Journal Articles]. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 55(2), 659–667. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-160582
Breda, A., & Watts, A. (2017). The relationship between expectations regarding aging, physical activity, and subjective physical function in older adults. [Journal Articles]. Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, 3, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1177/2333721417702350
Rhyner, K. T., & Watts, A. (2016). Exercise and depressive symptoms in older adults: A systematic meta-analytic review [Journal Articles]. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 24(2), 234–246. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2015-0146
Vidoni, E., Watts, A., Burns, J., Black, J., Bieberle, N., Uphoff, L., Graves, R., & Van Sciver, A. (2016). Feasibility of a memory clinical based physical activity  prescription program [Journal Articles]. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 53(1), 161–170. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-160158
Watts, A., Walters, R., Hoffman, L., & Templin, J. (2016). Intra-individual variability of physical activity in  older adults with and without mild Alzheimer’s disease.  [Journal Articles]. PLoS One, 11(4), e0153898. https://doi.org/10.1371/ journal.pone.0153898
Watts, A., Honea, R., Billinger, S., Hutfles, L., Vidoni, E., Rhyner, K., & Burns, J. (2015). A combined measure of vascular risk for white matter lesions [Journal Articles]. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 45(1), 187–193. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-142085
Watts, A., Diaz Moore, K., Ferdous, F., & Burns, J. (2015). Neighborhood integration and connectivity predict cognitive decline in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease [Journal Articles]. Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, 1, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1177/2333721415599141
Watts, A., Vidoni, E. D., Loskutova, N., Johnson, D. K., & Burns, J. M. (2013). Measuring physical activity in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease [Journal Articles]. Clinical Gerontologist, 36(4), 356–374. https://doi.org/10.1080/07317115.2013.788116
Watts, A., Loskutova, N., Johnson, D. K., & Burns, J. M. (2013). Metabolic syndrome and cognitive decline in early Alzheimer’s disease and healthy older adults [Journal Articles]. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 35(2), 253–265. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-121168
Johnson, D. K., Watts, A., Chapin, B. A., Anderson, R., & Burns, J. M. (2011). Neuropsychiatric profiles in dementia [Journal Articles]. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 25(4), 326–332. https://doi.org/10.1097/WAD.0b013e31820d89bs
Burns, J. M., Johnson, D. K., Watts, A., Swerdlow, R., & Brooks, W. M. (2010). Reduced lean mass in early Alzheimer disease and its association with brain atrophy [Journal Articles]. Archives of Neurology, 67(4), 428–433. https://doi.org/10.1001/archneurol.2010.38
Watts, A., Crimmins, E. M., & Gatz, M. (2008). Inflammation as a potential mediator for the association between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease [Journal Articles]. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4(5), 865–876. https://doi.org/10.2147/ndt.s3610

Selected Grants

A randomised controlled trial of reducing prolonged sitting to improve cognitive function in insufficiently active frail older adults. Dementia Collaborative Research Centres (Australia). $200000.00. (1/1/2016 - 12/31/2018). Other. Status: Funded
Intervention to Reduce Sitting Time in Mild Cognitive Impairment (ReST-MCI).. Univ of KS Med Ctr Research Institute and National Institutes of Health. $20000.00. (9/15/2016 - 6/30/2017). Federal. Status: Funded
Physical fitness and neurocognitive performance in older adults in Kansas and Costa Rica. Office of International Programs. $25000.00. (6/1/2014 - 12/31/2015). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
The effects of sedentary behavior and metabolic syndrome on cognitive performance. NIH Loan Repayment Program. (1/1/2013 - 12/31/2015). Federal. Status: Funded
Neighborhood Characteristics, Walking, and Sedentary Behavior in AD. KU- AlzheimerΓÇÖs Disease Center Pilot Award. $30000.00. (1/1/2013 - 12/31/2014). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
Resilient Lifestyles for Older Adults. Strategic Initiatives Award. $50000.00. (1/1/2012 - 12/31/2014). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
Measuring unstructured physical activity in older adults with and without AlzheimerΓÇÖs disease. NCATS #UL1TR000001; NCRR #UL1RR033179. Frontiers Pilot and Collaborative Studies, Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA). $30000.00. (1/1/2012 - 12/31/2013). Federal. Status: Funded
The Role of Physical Activity in Cognitive Decline and Dementia. Clinical Loan Repayment Award, NIH Loan Repayment Program. (1/1/2010 - 12/31/2012). Federal. Status: Funded
Prescribing Smart Aging: Integrating Health Systems with Community-Based Lifestyle Interventions. 1R01AG052954-01. National Institutes of Health. Submitted 1/1/2016 (1/1/2017). Federal. Status: Funded

Calendar
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