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Low-intensity daily walking activity is associated with hippocampal volume in older adults.

Abstract

Hippocampal atrophy is associated with memory impairment and dementia and serves as a key biomarker in the preclinical stages of Alzheimer's disease. Physical activity, one of the most promising behavioral interventions to prevent or delay cognitive decline, has been shown to be associated with hippocampal volume; specifically increased aerobic activity and fitness may have a positive effect on the size of the hippocampus. The majority of older adults, however, are sedentary and have difficulty initiating and maintaining exercise programs. A modestly more active lifestyle may nonetheless be beneficial. This study explored whether greater objectively measured daily walking activity was associated with larger hippocampal volume. We additionally explored whether greater low-intensity walking activity, which may be related to leisure-time physical, functional, and social activities, was associated with larger hippocampal volume independent of exercise and higher-intensity walking activity. Segmentation of hippocampal volumes was performed using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain's Software Library (FSL), and daily walking activity was assessed using a step activity monitor on 92, nondemented, older adult participants. After controlling for age, education, body mass index, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and the Mini Mental State Exam, we found that a greater amount, duration, and frequency of total daily walking activity were each associated with larger hippocampal volume among older women, but not among men. These relationships were specific to hippocampal volume, compared with the thalamus, used as a control brain region, and remained significant for low-intensity walking activity, independent of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity and self-reported exercise. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to explore the relationship between objectively measured daily walking activity and hippocampal volume in an older adult population. Findings suggest the importance of examining whether increasing nonexercise, lifestyle physical activities may produce measurable cognitive benefits and affect hippocampal volume through molecular pathways unique to those related to moderate-intensity exercise.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; Center on Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

    , , ,

    Source

    Hippocampus 25:5 2015 May pg 605-15

    MeSH

    Actigraphy
    Aged
    Exercise
    Female
    Hippocampus
    Humans
    Linear Models
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Male
    Organ Size
    Sex Characteristics
    Thalamus
    Walking

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Randomized Controlled Trial
    Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    25483019

    Citation

    Varma, Vijay R., et al. "Low-intensity Daily Walking Activity Is Associated With Hippocampal Volume in Older Adults." Hippocampus, vol. 25, no. 5, 2015, pp. 605-15.
    Varma VR, Chuang YF, Harris GC, et al. Low-intensity daily walking activity is associated with hippocampal volume in older adults. Hippocampus. 2015;25(5):605-15.
    Varma, V. R., Chuang, Y. F., Harris, G. C., Tan, E. J., & Carlson, M. C. (2015). Low-intensity daily walking activity is associated with hippocampal volume in older adults. Hippocampus, 25(5), pp. 605-15. doi:10.1002/hipo.22397.
    Varma VR, et al. Low-intensity Daily Walking Activity Is Associated With Hippocampal Volume in Older Adults. Hippocampus. 2015;25(5):605-15. PubMed PMID: 25483019.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Low-intensity daily walking activity is associated with hippocampal volume in older adults. AU - Varma,Vijay R, AU - Chuang,Yi-Fang, AU - Harris,Gregory C, AU - Tan,Erwin J, AU - Carlson,Michelle C, Y1 - 2014/12/26/ PY - 2014/12/03/accepted PY - 2014/12/9/entrez PY - 2014/12/9/pubmed PY - 2016/1/14/medline KW - African Americans KW - aging KW - brain KW - cognition KW - physical activity SP - 605 EP - 15 JF - Hippocampus JO - Hippocampus VL - 25 IS - 5 N2 - Hippocampal atrophy is associated with memory impairment and dementia and serves as a key biomarker in the preclinical stages of Alzheimer's disease. Physical activity, one of the most promising behavioral interventions to prevent or delay cognitive decline, has been shown to be associated with hippocampal volume; specifically increased aerobic activity and fitness may have a positive effect on the size of the hippocampus. The majority of older adults, however, are sedentary and have difficulty initiating and maintaining exercise programs. A modestly more active lifestyle may nonetheless be beneficial. This study explored whether greater objectively measured daily walking activity was associated with larger hippocampal volume. We additionally explored whether greater low-intensity walking activity, which may be related to leisure-time physical, functional, and social activities, was associated with larger hippocampal volume independent of exercise and higher-intensity walking activity. Segmentation of hippocampal volumes was performed using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain's Software Library (FSL), and daily walking activity was assessed using a step activity monitor on 92, nondemented, older adult participants. After controlling for age, education, body mass index, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and the Mini Mental State Exam, we found that a greater amount, duration, and frequency of total daily walking activity were each associated with larger hippocampal volume among older women, but not among men. These relationships were specific to hippocampal volume, compared with the thalamus, used as a control brain region, and remained significant for low-intensity walking activity, independent of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity and self-reported exercise. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to explore the relationship between objectively measured daily walking activity and hippocampal volume in an older adult population. Findings suggest the importance of examining whether increasing nonexercise, lifestyle physical activities may produce measurable cognitive benefits and affect hippocampal volume through molecular pathways unique to those related to moderate-intensity exercise. SN - 1098-1063 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25483019/Low_intensity_daily_walking_activity_is_associated_with_hippocampal_volume_in_older_adults_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/hipo.22397 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -