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Brain Plast. 2018 Dec 26;4(2):211-216. doi: 10.3233/BPL-170053.

The Influence of Aerobic Exercise on Hippocampal Integrity and Function: Preliminary Findings of a Multi-Modal Imaging Analysis.

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Brain and Mental Health Lab, School of Psychological Sciences and Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University, Australia.
Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Nutrition Dietetics and Food, Monash University, Australia.
Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Metabolic Disease and Obesity Program, and The Department of Physiology, Monash University, Australia.
Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Psychological Health and Society, The University of Liverpool, UK.


Aerobic exercise (AE) interventions represent promising therapeutic approaches in disorders that compromise hippocampal integrity, but a more comprehensive account of the neural mechanisms stimulated by AE in the human brain is needed. We conducted a longitudinal pilot-study to assess the impact of a 12-week AE intervention on hippocampal structure and function in 10 healthy, human participants (50% females; 25-59 years). Using a novel combination of multimodal MRI techniques, we found significant increases in left hippocampal volume, Cornu Ammonis subfield area 1, NAA concentration and immediate verbal recall performance. Our preliminary findings highlight the utility of a multimodal approach in assessing hippocampal integrity.


Hippocampus; MRI; NAA; fitness; plasticity

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