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Neurodegener Dis. 2012;10(1-4):135-7. doi: 10.1159/000334760. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Association of cardiorespiratory fitness and morphological brain changes in the elderly: results of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study.

Author information

1
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Center of Molecular Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness relate to better cognitive performance. Little is known about the effects of fitness on structural brain abnormalities in the elderly.

OBJECTIVE:

Assess the association between maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2)max), white matter lesion (WML) volume and brain parenchymal fraction (BPF) in a large cohort of community-dwelling elderly individuals.

METHODS:

The study population consisted of 715 participants of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study who underwent brain MRI with semi-automated measurement of WML volume (cm(3)) and automated assessment of BPF (%) by the use of SIENAX. A maximal exercise stress test was done on a bicycle ergometer. VO(2)max was calculated based on maximum and resting heart rate.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for possible confounders, VO(2)max was independently associated with WML volume (β = -0.10; p = 0.02); no significant relationship existed with silent cerebral infarcts and BPF. Associations between VO(2)max and WML load were only significant in men, but not in women.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings may have important preventive implications because WMLs are known to be a major determinant of cognitive decline and disability in old age.

PMID:
22269924
DOI:
10.1159/000334760
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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