Aerobic activity in the healthy elderly is associated with larger plasticity in memory related brain structures and lower systemic inflammation

Jan Willem Thielen*, Christian Kärgel, Bernhard W. Müller, Ina Rasche, Just Genius, Boudewijn Bus, Stefan Maderwald, David G. Norris, Jens Wiltfang, Indira Tendolkar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Cognitive abilities decline over the time course of our life, a process, which may be mediated by brain atrophy and enhanced inflammatory processes. Lifestyle factors, such as regular physical activities have been shown to counteract those noxious processes and are assumed to delay or possibly even prevent pathological states, such as dementing disorders. Whereas the impact of lifestyle and immunological factors and their interactions on cognitive aging have been frequently studied, their effects on neural parameters as brain activation and functional connectivity are less well studied. Therefore, we investigated 32 healthy elderly individuals (60.4 ± 5.0 SD; range 52-71 years) with low or high level of self-reported aerobic physical activity at the time of testing. A higher compared to a lower level in aerobic physical activity was associated with an increased encoding related functional connectivity in an episodic memory network comprising mPFC, thalamus, hippocampus precuneus, and insula. Moreover, encoding related functional connectivity of this network was associated with decreased systemic inflammation, as measured by systemic levels of interleukin 6.

Original languageEnglish
Article number319
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberDEC
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Elderly
  • FMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-6
  • Memory
  • Physical activity

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