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J Intern Med. 2018 Oct;284(4):439-443. doi: 10.1111/joim.12772. Epub 2018 Jun 7.

Association of objectively measured physical activity with brain structure: UK Biobank study.

Author information

1
School Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK.
2
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.
3
MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, University College London, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Physical activity may be beneficial for cognition but mechanisms are unclear. We examined the association between objectively assessed physical activity and brain volume, with a focus on the hippocampus region.

METHODS:

We used data from UK Biobank (n = 5272; aged 55.4 ± 7.5 years; 45.6% men) collected through 2013-2016. Participants wore the Axivity AX3 wrist-worn triaxial accelerometer for 7 days to assess habitual physical activity. Structural magnetic resonance imaging was performed using a standard Siemens Skyra 3T running VD13A SP4 to obtain images of the brain.

RESULTS:

There was an association between physical activity (per SD increase) and grey matter volume after adjustment for a range of covariates, although this association was only detected in older adults (>60 years old). We also observed associations of physical activity with both left (B = 0.52, 95% CI, 0.01, 1.03; P = 0.046) and right hippocampal volume (B = 0.59, 95% CI, 0.08, 1.10; P = 0.024) in covariate-adjusted models.

CONCLUSION:

In summary, physical activity may play a role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.

KEYWORDS:

hippocampus; neurodegeneration; physical activity; population

PMID:
29776014
DOI:
10.1111/joim.12772

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