Exercise cuts atrophy, white matter lesion load in elderly

October 24, 2012
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."

Explore further: Mild hearing loss linked to brain atrophy in older adults

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

Related Stories

Mild hearing loss linked to brain atrophy in older adults

August 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 ...

Using a pedometer ups leisure walking time for older adults

July 16, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Compared with time-based physical activity goals, using a pedometer to measure steps increases leisure walking time, even a year after the initial intervention, according to a study published in the May/June ...

Widespread brain atrophy detected in Parkinson's disease with newly developed structural pattern

December 12, 2011
Atrophy in the hippocampus, the region of the brain known for memory formation and storage, is evident in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with cognitive impairment, including early decline known as mild cognitive impairment ...

Racial difference in effect of physical activity on obesity

June 6, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Black adolescent girls are less sensitive to the effects of physical activity in preventing obesity than are white girls, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent ...

A lifetime of physical activity yields measurable benefits as we age

August 25, 2011
The benefits of physical activity accumulate across a lifetime, according to a new study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Researchers in England and Australia examined the associations ...

Recommended for you

Social media trends can predict tipping points in vaccine scares

December 11, 2017
Analyzing trends on Twitter and Google can help predict vaccine scares that can lead to disease outbreaks, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Full moon linked to increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes

December 11, 2017
The full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, finds a study in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

'Man flu' may be real

December 11, 2017
The much-debated phenomenon of "man flu" may have some basis in fact, suggests an article published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Women's sexual orientation linked to (un)happiness about birth

December 11, 2017
Unhappiness about a pregnancy or birth has been associated with negative health outcomes for mothers and babies. Yet, unhappiness about a pregnancy or birth has been understudied, particularly among sexual minority (non-heterosexual) ...

Study suggests being proud may protect against falls in older people

December 11, 2017
Contrary to the old saying "pride comes before a fall", the opposite appears to be true, according to a study published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Peppa Pig may encourage inappropriate use of primary care services

December 11, 2017
Exposure to the children's television series Peppa Pig may be contributing to unrealistic expectations of primary care and encouraging inappropriate use of services, suggests a doctor in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.