Meeting physical activity recommendations may be protective against temporal lobe atrophy in older adults at risk for Alzheimer's disease

Dougherty RJ, Ellingson LD, Schultz SA, Boots EA, Meyer JD, Lindheimer JB, Van Riper S, Stegner AJ, Edwards D, Oh JM, Koscik RL, Dowling MN, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Rowley HA, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA, Johnson SC, Okonkwo OC, Cook DB

Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring (Amst). 2016 Apr 9;4:14-7.


INTRODUCTION: Physical activity (PA) is associated with brain health in older adults. However, it is unknown whether the current physical activity recommendations (PAR) impart substantive benefit. The objective of this study was to compare temporal lobe volumes between older adults who met PAR and those who did not. METHODS: Ninety-one enrollees from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention wore an accelerometer for seven consecutive days to quantify their PA behaviors and underwent a T-1 anatomical magnetic resonance imaging scan. Participants were categorized as either having met PAR or not based on the US Department of Health and Human Services recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. RESULTS: Participants who met PAR possessed significantly greater inferior (Ƞ2p = .050) and anterior (Ƞ2p = .055) temporal lobe volumes compared to those who did not (p < .05). DISCUSSION: Individuals at-risk for AD experience accelerated rates of brain atrophy. These results suggest that regular engagement in PA at or above PAR could attenuate this decline.


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