Exercise cuts atrophy, white matter lesion load in elderly

Exercise cuts atrophy, white matter lesion load in elderly
In older adults, physical activity is associated with less brain atrophy and white matter lesion load, according to a study published in the Oct. 23 issue of Neurology.

(HealthDay)—In older adults, physical activity is associated with less brain atrophy and white matter lesion (WML) load, according to a study published in the Oct. 23 issue of Neurology.

Alan J. Gow, Ph.D., from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data from 691 participants from the Lothian 1936 for associations between self-reported leisure and physical activity at age 70 years and structural brain biomarkers at 73 years. Principal components analysis of 12 major tracts produced general factors for fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity for integrity. Computational image processing methods were used for assessment of atrophy, gray and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) volumes, and WML load.

The researchers found an association between higher level of physical activity with higher fractional anisotropy, larger gray and NAWM volumes, less atrophy, and lower WML load. After adjustment for covariates, including age, social class, and health status, the association of physical activity with atrophy, gray matter, and WML remained significant. Physical activity and stroke each had a significant independent effect on rated WML load. After adjusting for covariates, leisure activity was no longer significantly associated with NAWM volume.

"In this large, narrow-age sample of adults in their 70s, physical activity was associated with less atrophy and WML," the authors write. "Its role as a potential neuroprotective factor is supported; however, the direction of causation is unclear from this observational study."

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Mild hearing loss linked to brain atrophy in older adults

Aug 31, 2011

A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that declines in hearing ability may accelerate gray mater atrophy in auditory areas of the brain and increase the listening ...

Study evaluates brain lesions of older patients

Jul 09, 2007

Lesions commonly seen on MRI in the brains of older patients may be a sign of potentially more extensive injury to the brain tissue, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center, ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments