Physical activity predicts gray matter volume in late adulthood The Cardiovascular Health Study

Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.3). 10/2010; 75(16):1415-22. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181f88359
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Physical activity (PA) has been hypothesized to spare gray matter volume in late adulthood, but longitudinal data testing an association has been lacking. Here we tested whether PA would be associated with greater gray matter volume after a 9-year follow-up, a threshold could be identified for the amount of walking necessary to spare gray matter volume, and greater gray matter volume associated with PA would be associated with a reduced risk for cognitive impairment 13 years after the PA evaluation.
In 299 adults (mean age 78 years) from the Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study, we examined the association between gray matter volume, PA, and cognitive impairment. Physical activity was quantified as the number of blocks walked over 1 week. High-resolution brain scans were acquired 9 years after the PA assessment on cognitively normal adults. White matter hyperintensities, ventricular grade, and other health variables at baseline were used as covariates. Clinical adjudication for cognitive impairment occurred 13 years after baseline.
Walking amounts ranged from 0 to 300 blocks (mean 56.3; SD 69.7). Greater PA predicted greater volumes of frontal, occipital, entorhinal, and hippocampal regions 9 years later. Walking 72 blocks was necessary to detect increased gray matter volume but walking more than 72 blocks did not spare additional volume. Greater gray matter volume with PA reduced the risk for cognitive impairment 2-fold.
Greater amounts of walking are associated with greater gray matter volume, which is in turn associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment.

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Available from: Kirk I Erickson, Aug 19, 2015
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    • "On the other hand, there are some studies examining benefits of habitual but timely limited physical activity on executive functions in elderly using cross-sectional designs (Guiney and Machado, 2013 for review; Berchicci et al., 2013; Chang et al., 2010; Taddei et al., 2012; van Boxtel et al., 1997; Wendell et al., 2014). In sum, current research indicates that short-and middleterm physical activity counteracts age-related decline of executive functions (Colcombe et al., 2003, 2004, 2006; Draganski and May, 2008; Erickson et al., 2010, 2011; Flöel et al., 2010; Gomez-Pinilla and Hillman, 2013; Guiney and Machado, 2013; Hayes et al., 2013; Hillman et al., 2008; Voss et al., 2010; 2011; 2013; Weinstein et al., 2012). Therefore, long-term or even lifelong physical activity should attenuate age-related executive deficits to a much larger extent. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aging is accompanied by compromised executive control. Training studies point to beneficial effects of physical activity on executive functions. Here, we investigate the relationship between lifelong habitual physical activity (about 50 years) and switch ability in healthy seniors. Participants switched among three tasks in a memorized task sequence. Mixing costs for speed were lower in habitually active than low active participants whereas switch costs were not affected. Active participants revealed also lower mixing and switch costs for accuracy. These parameters were negatively correlated with the self-reported level of physical activity. The frontal CNV was smaller in the active than low active group. In contrast, in the target-locked ERPs active individuals showed an earlier P2, a larger frontocentral N2 and the typical pattern of smaller P3b in switch than non-switch trials relative to low-active individuals. These data suggest that lifelong physical activity is associated with faster recall of stimulus-response sets (P2), enhanced response selection during interference processing (N2) and working memory updating (P3b) leading to lower mixing and switch costs. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Neuropsychologia 04/2015; 73. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.04.031 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    • "In middle-aged overweight and obese subjects, physical activity effectively promotes weight loss through both increased satiety response and reduced energy intake (King et al. 2009; Martins et al. 2010; Bales et al. 2012). Increased levels of physical activity and aerobic fitness are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (Kodama et al. 2009; Samitz et al. 2011; Li and Siegrist 2012; Yates et al. 2013), decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals (Laaksonen et al. 2005), and even increased brain volume and improved cognitive function in elderly subjects (Larson et al. 2006; Erickson et al. 2010, 2011; Kulmala et al. 2014). Moreover, as little as 2.5 h of " nonvigorous " activity per week is associated with 19% reduced risk of mortality (Janssen 2011). "
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    02/2015; 3(2). DOI:10.14814/phy2.12319
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    • "Most of those studies assessed PA using questionnaires. For example, it was found that the self-reported duration and frequency of PA were associated with gray matter and white matter volume (Benedict et al., 2013) and greater walking distance at baseline was related to greater gray matter volume 9 years later in older adults (Erickson et al., 2010). In contrast, there is less evidence of a relationship between objectively measured PA and brain health. "
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