Send to

Choose Destination
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

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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Loading ...
Support Center