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Aerobic fitness, but not physical activity, is associated with grey matter volume in adolescents
Department of Psychology, Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research, University of Jyväskylä.
Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Statistics. Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. (Stat4Reg)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2135-9963
LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health, Jyväskylä, Finland.
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2019 (English)In: Behavioural Brain Research, ISSN 0166-4328, E-ISSN 1872-7549, Vol. 362, p. 122-130Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Higher levels of aerobic fitness and physical activity are linked to beneficial effects on brain health, especially in older adults. The generalizability of these earlier results to young individuals is not straightforward, because physiological responses (such as cardiovascular responses) to exercise may depend on age. Earlier studies have mostly focused on the effects of either physical activity or aerobic fitness on the brain. Yet, while physical activity indicates the amount of activity, aerobic fitness is an adaptive state or attribute that an individual has or achieves. Here, by measuring both physical activity and aerobic fitness in the same study, we aimed to differentiate the association between these two measures and grey matter volume specifically. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were used to study volumes of 30 regions of interest located in the frontal, motor and subcortical areas of 60 adolescents (12.7–16.2 years old). Moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was measured with hip-worn accelerometers and aerobic fitness was assessed with a 20-m shuttle run. Multiple regression analyses revealed a negative association between aerobic fitness and left superior frontal cortex volume and a positive association between aerobic fitness and the left pallidum volume. No associations were found between MVPA and any brain region of interest. These results demonstrate unequal contribution of physical activity and aerobic fitness on grey matter volumes, with inherent or achieved capacity (aerobic fitness) showing clearer associations than physical activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 362, p. 122-130
Keywords [en]
Physical activity, Cardiorespiratory fitness, Magnetic resonance imaging, Accelerometer, Adolescence
National Category
Neurosciences Probability Theory and Statistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-155465DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.12.041ISI: 000458941500016PubMedID: 30639508OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-155465DiVA, id: diva2:1279579
Available from: 2019-01-16 Created: 2019-01-16 Last updated: 2019-04-26Bibliographically approved

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