Article

The Unique Relation of Physical Activity to Executive Function in Older Men and Women

Department of Kinesiology & Health Promotion, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Pomona, California, United States
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 09/2007; 39(8):1408-16. DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31806ad708
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

To determine whether physical activity participation was specifically and positively associated with executive function in older individuals after accounting for age, education, and IQ.
Participants were 120 healthy men (N = 38) and women (N = 82) aged 65-92 yr (mean = 78.9, SD = 5.8), who were free of depression and dementia (Beck Depression Inventory and Mini-Mental Status Exam, respectively), had above-average intelligence (mean = 118.1, SD = 9.4) as indexed by the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT), and stable patterns of physical activity during a 3- to 5-yr period before the study. Participants completed the Yale Physical Activity Survey (YPAS) for older adults and the Stroop Color and Word Test to assess inhibitory executive function.
Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that YPAS summary index scores explained a small, but significant amount of variance in Stroop color-word and interference scores (DeltaR2 = 2 and 4%, respectively) after accounting for intelligence and age. The YPAS index was unrelated to nonexecutive performance.
The results support specificity of the physical activity/cognition relationship in older individuals. The results may be explained by additive benefit from participation in physical activity to the frontal lobe (i.e., beyond any benefits from cognitive stimulation), a region that mediates executive function and experiences accelerated age-related decline. In summary, habitual physical activity is positively related to executive performance in older men and women into the 10th decade.

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    • "Numerous clinical studies suggest a relationship between physical activity and risk of dementia in late life. Cross-sectional studies suggest that physical activity is positively associated with cognition, particularly executive and visuospatial function [26] [27] [28] [29] [30]. Multiple longitudinal studies report a relationship between self-reported exercise and cognitive decline [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36], and overall physical activity in midlife or later life is associated with a reduced risk of developing AD in late-life [37] [38]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease, the etiology of AD is not well understood. In some cases, genetic factors explain AD risk, but a high percentage of late-onset AD is unexplained. The fact that AD is associated with a number of physical and systemic manifestations suggests that AD is a multifactorial disease that affects both the CNS and periphery. Interestingly, a common feature of many systemic processes linked to AD is involvement in energy metabolism. The goals of this review are to 1) explore the evidence that peripheral processes contribute to AD risk, 2) explore ways that AD modulates whole-body changes, and 3) discuss the role of genetics, mitochondria, and vascular mechanisms as underlying factors that could mediate both central and peripheral manifestations of AD. Despite efforts to strictly define AD as a homogeneous CNS disease, there may be no single etiologic pathway leading to the syndrome of AD dementia. Rather, the neurodegenerative process may involve some degree of baseline genetic risk that is modified by external risk factors. Continued research into the diverse but related processes linked to AD risk is necessary for successful development of disease -modifying therapies.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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    • "Numerous clinical studies suggest a relationship between physical activity and risk of dementia in late life. Cross-sectional studies suggest that physical activity is positively associated with cognition, particularly executive and visuospatial function [26] [27] [28] [29] [30]. Multiple longitudinal studies report a relationship between self-reported exercise and cognitive decline [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36], and overall physical activity in midlife or later life is associated with a reduced risk of developing AD in late-life [37] [38]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease, the etiology of AD is not well understood. In some cases, genetic factors explain AD risk, but a high percentage of late-onset AD is unexplained. The fact that AD is associated with a number of physical and systemic manifestations suggests that AD is a multifactorial disease that affects both the CNS and periphery. Interestingly, a common feature of many systemic processes linked to AD is involvement in energy metabolism. The goals of this review are to 1) explore the evidence that peripheral processes contribute to AD risk, 2) explore ways that AD modulates whole-body changes, and 3) discuss the role of genetics, mitochondria, and vascular mechanisms as underlying factors that could mediate both central and peripheral manifestations of AD. Despite efforts to strictly define AD as a homogeneous CNS disease, there may be no single etiologic pathway leading to the syndrome of AD dementia. Rather, the neurodegenerative process may involve some degree of baseline genetic risk that is modified by external risk factors. Continued research into the diverse but related processes linked to AD risk is necessary for successful development of disease –modifying therapies.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease
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    • "In a cross-sectional study of men and women age 68–92 years (n=122), physical activity and weekly energy expenditure were associated with better performance in executive function, as measured by the Stroop Color-Word test, after controlling for age, IQ, and education.60 The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging examined self-reported midlife and late-life exercise in a cohort of older adults (n=1,324) who were categorized as having either no cognitive impairment or MCI. "
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    ABSTRACT: In an aging population with increasing incidence of dementia and cognitive impairment, strategies are needed to slow age-related decline and reduce disease-related cognitive impairment in older adults. Physical exercise that targets modifiable risk factors and neuroprotective mechanisms may reduce declines in cognitive performance attributed to the normal aging process and protect against changes related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. In this review we summarize the role of exercise in neuroprotection and cognitive performance, and provide information related to implementation of physical exercise programs for older adults. Evidence from both animal and human studies supports the role of physical exercise in modifying metabolic, structural, and functional dimensions of the brain and preserving cognitive performance in older adults. The results of observational studies support a dose-dependent neuroprotective relationship between physical exercise and cognitive performance in older adults. Although some clinical trials of exercise interventions demonstrate positive effects of exercise on cognitive performance, other trials show minimal to no effect. Although further research is needed, physical exercise interventions aimed at improving brain health through neuroprotective mechanisms show promise for preserving cognitive performance. Exercise programs that are structured, individualized, higher intensity, longer duration, and multicomponent show promise for preserving cognitive performance in older adults.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Clinical Interventions in Aging
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