Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans

Stanley J. Colcombe, Kirk I. Erickson, Naftali Raz, Andrew G. Webb, Neal J. Cohen, Edward McAuley, Arthur F. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background. The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques. Methods. We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers. Results. Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables. Conclusions. These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume58
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

Fingerprint

Health
Brain
Epidemiologic Effect Modifiers
Parietal Lobe
Laboratory Animals
Frontal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Geriatrics
Cognition
Population
Public Health
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Exercise
Costs and Cost Analysis
Growth
Research
White Matter
Gray Matter
Cognitive Dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans. / Colcombe, Stanley J.; Erickson, Kirk I.; Raz, Naftali; Webb, Andrew G.; Cohen, Neal J.; McAuley, Edward; Kramer, Arthur F.

In: Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Vol. 58, No. 2, 01.02.2003, p. 176-180.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colcombe, Stanley J. ; Erickson, Kirk I. ; Raz, Naftali ; Webb, Andrew G. ; Cohen, Neal J. ; McAuley, Edward ; Kramer, Arthur F. / Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans. In: Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2003 ; Vol. 58, No. 2. pp. 176-180.
@article{96bd735285b64e26a44666afabff1412,
title = "Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans",
abstract = "Background. The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques. Methods. We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers. Results. Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables. Conclusions. These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults.",
author = "Colcombe, {Stanley J.} and Erickson, {Kirk I.} and Naftali Raz and Webb, {Andrew G.} and Cohen, {Neal J.} and Edward McAuley and Kramer, {Arthur F.}",
year = "2003",
month = "2",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "58",
pages = "176--180",
journal = "Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences",
issn = "1079-5006",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in aging humans

AU - Colcombe, Stanley J.

AU - Erickson, Kirk I.

AU - Raz, Naftali

AU - Webb, Andrew G.

AU - Cohen, Neal J.

AU - McAuley, Edward

AU - Kramer, Arthur F.

PY - 2003/2/1

Y1 - 2003/2/1

N2 - Background. The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques. Methods. We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers. Results. Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables. Conclusions. These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults.

AB - Background. The human brain gradually loses tissue from the third decade of life onward, with concomitant declines in cognitive performance. Given the projected rapid growth in aged populations, and the staggering costs associated with geriatric care, identifying mechanisms that may reduce or reverse cerebral deterioration is rapidly emerging as an important public health goal. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive function in older adults and can improve brain health in aging laboratory animals, suggesting that aerobic fitness may provide a mechanism to improve cerebral health in aging humans. We examined the relationship between aerobic fitness and in vivo brain tissue density in an older adult population, using voxel-based morphometric techniques. Methods. We acquired high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans from 55 older adults. These images were segmented into gray and white matter maps, registered into stereotaxic space, and examined for systematic variation in tissue density as a function of age, aerobic fitness, and a number of other health markers. Results. Consistent with previous studies of aging and brain volume, we found robust declines in tissue densities as a function of age in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. More importantly, we found that losses in these areas were substantially reduced as a function of cardiovascular fitness, even when we statistically controlled for other moderator variables. Conclusions. These findings extend the scope of beneficial effects of aerobic exercise beyond cardiovascular health, and they suggest a strong solid biological basis for the benefits of exercise on the brain health of older adults.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0037320180&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0037320180&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 12586857

AN - SCOPUS:0037320180

VL - 58

SP - 176

EP - 180

JO - Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences

JF - Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences

SN - 1079-5006

IS - 2

ER -