Brain activation during dual-task processing is associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and performance in older adults

Chelsea N. Wong, Laura Chaddock-Heyman, Michelle W. Voss, Agnieszka Z. Burzynska, Chandramallika Basak, Kirk I. Erickson, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Amanda N. Szabo-Reed, Siobhan M. Phillips, Thomas Wojcicki, Emily L. Mailey, Edward McAuley, Arthur F. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Higher cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with better cognitive performance and enhanced brain activation. Yet, the extent to which cardiorespiratory fitness-related brain activation is associated with better cognitive performance is not well understood. In this cross-sectional study, we examined whether the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and executive function was mediated by greater prefrontal cortex activation in healthy older adults. Brain activation was measured during dual-task performance with functional magnetic resonance imaging in a sample of 128 healthy older adults (59-80 years). Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with greater activation during dual-task processing in several brain areas including the anterior cingulate and supplementary motor cortex (ACC/SMA), thalamus and basal ganglia, right motor/somatosensory cortex and middle frontal gyrus, and left somatosensory cortex, controlling for age, sex, education, and gray matter volume. Of these regions, greater ACC/SMA activation mediated the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and dual-task performance. We provide novel evidence that cardiorespiratory fitness may support cognitive performance by facilitating brain activation in a core region critical for executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume7
Issue numberJUL
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Dual-task
  • Executive function
  • Exercise
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

Wong, C. N., Chaddock-Heyman, L., Voss, M. W., Burzynska, A. Z., Basak, C., Erickson, K. I., Prakash, R. S., Szabo-Reed, A. N., Phillips, S. M., Wojcicki, T., Mailey, E. L., McAuley, E., & Kramer, A. F. (2015). Brain activation during dual-task processing is associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and performance in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7(JUL), [154]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2015.00154