Exercise, brain, and cognition across the life span.
ABSTRACT This is a brief review of current evidence for the relationships between physical activity and exercise and the brain and cognition throughout the life span in non-pathological populations. We focus on the effects of both aerobic and resistance training and provide a brief overview of potential neurobiological mechanisms derived from non-human animal models. Whereas research has focused primarily on the benefits of aerobic exercise in youth and young adult populations, there is growing evidence that both aerobic and resistance training are important for maintaining cognitive and brain health in old age. Finally, in these contexts, we point out gaps in the literature and future directions that will help advance the field of exercise neuroscience, including more studies that explicitly examine the effect of exercise type and intensity on cognition, the brain, and clinically significant outcomes. There is also a need for human neuroimaging studies to adopt a more unified multi-modal framework and for greater interaction between human and animal models of exercise effects on brain and cognition across the life span.
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ABSTRACT: Interest surrounds the role of sex-hormones in regulating brain function outside of reproductive behaviour. Declining androgen production in aging males has been associated with cognitive impairment, depression and increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Indication for testosterone replacement therapy is based on biochemically determined low circulating testosterone combined with manifest symptoms. However, which aspects of age-related cognitive decline are attributable to low circulating testosterone remain ambiguous. Studies examining cognition in aging men receiving testosterone replacement therapy have yielded equivocal results. The exact role of testosterone in maintaining cognitive function and the underlying neural mechanisms are largely unknown, though it would appear to be domain specific. Clarity in this area will provide clinical direction toward addressing an increasing healthcare burden of mental health decline coincident with increasing longevity. The premise that androgens contribute to maintaining aspects of mental health in aging men by preserving hippocampal neurogenesis will be used as a forum in this review to discuss current knowledge and the need for further studies to better define testosterone replacement strategies for aging male health.Neural Regeneration Research 10/2012; 7(28):2227-39. · 0.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Exercise interventions often do not combine physical and cognitive training. However, this combination is assumed to be more beneficial in improving walking and cognitive functioning compared to isolated cognitive or physical training. Methods A multicenter parallel randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare a motor to a cognitive-motor exercise program. A total of 182 eligible residents of homes-for-the-aged (n = 159) or elderly living in the vicinity of the homes (n = 23) were randomly assigned to either strength-balance (SB) or strength-balance-cognitive (SBC) training. Both groups conducted similar strength-balance training during 12 weeks. SBC additionally absolved computerized cognitive training of alertness and divided & selective attention. Outcomes were change in dual task costs of walking, physical performance, simple reaction time, executive functions, divided attention, fear of falling and fall rate. All randomized participants were analysed with an intention to treat approach. Results All 182 participants were randomized (mean age +/- SD: 81.5 +/- 7.3 years) and allocated to either SB (n = 98) or SBC (n = 84). The attrition rate was 14.3%, thus, 156 participants completed the intervention (SB n = 82; SBC n = 74). Interaction effects were observed for dual task costs of step length (preferred walking speed: F(1,174) = 4.94, p = 0.028, eta2 = 0.027, fast walking speed: F(1,166) = 6.14, p = 0.009, eta2 = 0.040) and dual task costs of the standard deviation of step length (F(1,166) = 6.14, p = 0.014, eta2 = 0.036), in favor of SBC. Significant interactions in favor of SBC were also seen in gait initiation (F(1,166) = 9.16, p = 0.003, eta2 = 0.052), 'reaction time' (F(1,180) = 5.243, p = 0.023, eta2 = 0.028) & 'missed answers' (F(1,180) = 11.839, p = 0.001, eta2 = 0.062) as part of the test for divided attention. Within-group comparison revealed significant improvements in dual task costs of walking (preferred speed; velocity (p = 0.002), step time (p = 0.018), step length (p = 0.028), fast speed; velocity (p < 0.001), step time (p = 0.035), step length (p = 0.001)), simple reaction time (p < 0.001), executive functioning (Trail making test B; p < 0.001), divided attention (p < 0.001), fear of falling (p < 0.001), and fall rate (p < 0.001). Conclusions Combining strength-balance training with specific cognitive training has a positive additional effect on dual task costs of walking, gait initiation, and divided attention. The findings further confirm previous research showing that strength-balance training improves executive functions and reduces falls. Trial registration: This trial has been registered under ISRCTN75134517BMC Geriatrics 12/2014; 14. · 2.00 Impact Factor
Article: The Adaptable Brain[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We present a primer on the adaptability of the brain. We start with a brief historical overview of the biology of neuroplasticity. Environmental enrichment, social stimulation, exercise, and pharmacologic interventions (eg, antidepressant drugs) have all been reported to influence neuroplasticity. Since adaptive changes in the brain involve changes in how genes are expressed, we look at some approaches to that. Next, we consider a vital, but often overlooked, factor in brain development throughout life—social interactions. We conclude with a future perspective.Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation 01/2014; 30(1):2-7. · 0.14 Impact Factor