Lower Fitness Levels Associated With Greater Brain Deterioration
Fitness is important for your bones and muscles, but did you know it may be important for your brain, too? A recent study suggests that a lower fitness level may be associated with faster deterioration of nerve fibers in the brain, which could lead to cognitive decline and memory issues common in people with dementia.
Participants in the study included 81 participants with a median age of 65, including 26 cognitively normal older adults and 55 amnestic patients with mild cognitive impairment. All of the participants underwent a maximal oxygen uptake test in order to determine fitness level. The researchers also used brain imaging in order to assess the functionality of the white matter in each participant’s brain. In addition, participants were given memory and other cognitive tests to measure the functionality of their white matter.
After examining the data, the researchers found that people with lower fitness levels had greater deterioration of the nerve fibers in their white matter. The results held true even after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, white matter lesion burden, and mild cognitive impairment status.
Researchers from UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute conducted the study. It was published on December 19, 2017, in IOS Press Content Library.