Aerobic fitness, but not physical activity, is associated with grey matter volume in adolescents
Ruotsalainen, I., Renvall, V., Gorbach, T., Syväoja, H. J., Tammelin, T. H., Karvanen, J., & Parviainen, T. (2019). Aerobic fitness, but not physical activity, is associated with grey matter volume in adolescents. Behavioural Brain Research, 362, 122-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.12.041
Published inBehavioural Brain Research
DisciplineTilastotiedePsykologiaMonitieteinen aivotutkimuskeskusStatisticsPsychologyCentre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.
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. ...
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Research profiles, AoF; Academy Programme, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant numbers 273971, 274086 and 311877] and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation. We thank Marita Kattelus, Riikka Pasanen and Jenni Silvo for their valuable help in the data collection.
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