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Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques.

METHODS

We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers.

RESULTS

Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults.

Links

  • clinical trials
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.

    , , , , ,

    Source

    MeSH

    Aged
    Aged, 80 and over
    Aging
    Brain
    Brain Mapping
    Cerebral Cortex
    Cognition Disorders
    Cohort Studies
    Female
    Geriatric Assessment
    Humans
    Life Style
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Male
    Middle Aged
    Neuroaxonal Dystrophies
    Periaqueductal Gray
    Physical Fitness
    Probability

    Pub Type(s)

    Comparative Study
    Journal Article
    Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    12586857

    Citation

    Colcombe, Stanley J., et al. "Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans." The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, vol. 58, no. 2, 2003, pp. 176-80.
    Colcombe SJ, Erickson KI, Raz N, et al. Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003;58(2):176-80.
    Colcombe, S. J., Erickson, K. I., Raz, N., Webb, A. G., Cohen, N. J., McAuley, E., & Kramer, A. F. (2003). Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 58(2), pp. 176-80.
    Colcombe SJ, et al. Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003;58(2):176-80. PubMed PMID: 12586857.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans. AU - Colcombe,Stanley J, AU - Erickson,Kirk I, AU - Raz,Naftali, AU - Webb,Andrew G, AU - Cohen,Neal J, AU - McAuley,Edward, AU - Kramer,Arthur F, PY - 2003/2/15/pubmed PY - 2003/3/7/medline PY - 2003/2/15/entrez SP - 176 EP - 80 JF - The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences JO - J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci. VL - 58 IS - 2 N2 - BACKGROUND: The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques. METHODS: We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers. RESULTS: Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables. CONCLUSIONS: These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults. SN - 1079-5006 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/12586857/Aerobic_fitness_reduces_brain_tissue_loss_in_aging_humans_ L2 - https://ClinicalTrials.gov/search/term=12586857 [PUBMED-IDS] DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -