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Arch Med Res. 2012 Nov;43(8):615-21. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.09.008. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Physical activity, brain plasticity, and Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. kiericks@pitt.edu

Abstract

In this review we summarize the epidemiological, cross-sectional, and interventional studies examining the association between physical activity and brain volume, function, and risk for Alzheimer's disease. The epidemiological literature provides compelling evidence that greater amounts of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of dementia in late life. In addition, randomized interventions using neuroimaging tools have reported that participation in physical activity increases the size of prefrontal and hippocampal brain areas, which may lead to a reduction in memory impairments. Consistent with these findings, longitudinal studies using neuroimaging tools also find that the volume of prefrontal and hippocampal brain areas are larger in individuals who engaged in more physical activity earlier in life. We conclude from this review that there is convincing evidence that physical activity has a consistent and robust association with brain regions implicated in age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to summarizing this literature we provide recommendations for future research on physical activity and brain health.

PMID:
23085449
PMCID:
PMC3567914
DOI:
10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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