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Neurobiol Aging. 2015 Jan;36 Suppl 1:S194-S202. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.05.036. Epub 2014 Aug 27.

Physical activity, body mass index, and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Imaging Genetics Center, and Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Engineering, Radiology, and Ophthalmology, Keck USC School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
2
Department of Radiology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA.
3
Department of Psychology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
4
Department of Neurology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
5
Department of Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
6
Department of Radiology at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
7
Departments of Neurology and Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
8
Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health at Pittsburgh, PA.
9
Department of Neurology at University of California at Davis, CA.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to use a novel imaging biomarker to assess associations between physical activity (PA), body mass index (BMI), and brain structure in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's dementia. We studied 963 participants (mean age: 74.1 ± 4.4 years) from the multisite Cardiovascular Health Study including healthy controls (n = 724), Alzheimer's dementia patients (n = 104), and people with mild cognitive impairment (n = 135). Volumetric brain images were processed using tensor-based morphometry to analyze regional brain volumes. We regressed the local brain tissue volume on reported PA and computed BMI, and performed conjunction analyses using both variables. Covariates included age, sex, and study site. PA was independently associated with greater whole brain and regional brain volumes and reduced ventricular dilation. People with higher BMI had lower whole brain and regional brain volumes. A PA-BMI conjunction analysis showed brain preservation with PA and volume loss with increased BMI in overlapping brain regions. In one of the largest voxel-based cross-sectional studies to date, PA and lower BMI may be beneficial to the brain across the spectrum of aging and neurodegeneration.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer's; Body mass index; Physical activity; Tensor-based morphometry

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