Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Front Aging Neurosci. 2013 Jul 12;5:31. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2013.00031. eCollection 2013.

A review of cardiorespiratory fitness-related neuroplasticity in the aging brain.

Author information

1
Memory Disorders Research Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA, USA ; Neuroimaging Research for Veterans Center, VA Boston Healthcare System Boston, MA, USA ; Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

The literature examining the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and the brain in older adults has increased rapidly, with 30 of 34 studies published since 2008. Here we review cross-sectional and exercise intervention studies in older adults examining the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain structure and function, typically assessed using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Studies of patients with Alzheimer's disease are discussed when available. The structural MRI studies revealed a consistent positive relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain volume in cortical regions including anterior cingulate, lateral prefrontal, and lateral parietal cortex. Support for a positive relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and medial temporal lobe volume was less consistent, although evident when a region-of-interest approach was implemented. In fMRI studies, cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults was associated with activation in similar regions as those identified in the structural studies, including anterior cingulate, lateral prefrontal, and lateral parietal cortex, despite heterogeneity among the functional tasks implemented. This comprehensive review highlights the overlap in brain regions showing a positive relationship with cardiorespiratory fitness in both structural and functional imaging modalities. The findings suggest that aerobic exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness contribute to healthy brain aging, although additional studies in Alzheimer's disease are needed.

KEYWORDS:

diffusion tensor imaging; episodic memory; executive functions; exercise; fMRI; physical activity; physical fitness; structural MRI

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center