Visie & Beleidsplein

Neuroprotective lifestyles and the aging brain

activity, atrophy, and white matter integrity

Gow, A.J., Bastin, M.E., Munioz Maniega, S., Valdés Hernández, M.C., Morris, Z., Murray, C., ... Wardlaw, J.M. (2012). Neuroprotective lifestyles and the aging brain: activity, atrophy, and white matter integrity. Neurology 23 (pp. 1802-1808)

Objectives: Increased participation in leisure and physical activities may be cognitively protective. Whether activity might protect the integrity of the brain's white matter, or reduce atrophy and white matter lesion (WML) load, was examined in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (n = 691), a longitudinal study of aging.

Methods: Associations are presented between self-reported leisure and physical activity at age 70 years and structural brain biomarkers at 73 years. For white matter integrity, principal components analysis of 12 major tracts produced general factors for fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity. Atrophy, gray and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) volumes, and WML load were assessed using computational image processing methods; atrophy and WML were also assessed visually.

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

Uitgever(s): American Academy of Neurology,


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Alan Gow
Mark Bastin
Susana Munioz Maniega
Maria Valdés Hernández
Zoe Morris
Catherine Murray
Natalie Royle
John Starr
Ian J. Deary
Joanna Wardlaw

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