Physical Activity Predicts Population-Level Age-Related Differences in Frontal White Matter.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Physical activity has positive effects on brain health and cognitive function throughout the life span. Thus far, few studies have examined the effects of physical activity on white matter microstructure and psychomotor speed within the same, population-based sample (critical if conclusions are to extend to the wider population). Here, using diffusion tensor imaging and a simple reaction time task within a relatively large population-derived sample (N = 399; 18-87 years) from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN), we demonstrate that physical activity mediates the effect of age on white matter integrity, measured with fractional anisotropy. Higher self-reported daily physical activity was associated with greater preservation of white matter in several frontal tracts, including the genu of corpus callosum, uncinate fasciculus, external capsule, and anterior limb of the internal capsule. We also show that the age-related slowing is mediated by white matter integrity in the genu. Our findings contribute to a growing body of work, suggesting that a physically active lifestyle may protect against age-related structural disconnection and slowing.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Strömmer, JM; Davis, SW; Henson, RN; Tyler, LK; Cam-CAN, ; Campbell, KL

Published Date

  • January 20, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 75 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 236 - 243

PubMed ID

  • 30285083

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7116228

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-535X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/gerona/gly220


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States