Objectively Measured Physical Activity Is Associated with Brain Volumetric Measurements in Multiple Sclerosis

Rachel E. Klaren, Elizabeth A. Hubbard, Robert W. Motl, Lara A. Pilutti, Nathan C. Wetter, Bradley P. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little is known about physical activity and its association with volumes of whole brain gray matter and white matter and deep gray matter structures in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). Purpose: This study examined the association between levels of physical activity and brain volumetric measures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in MS. Method: 39 persons with MS wore an accelerometer for a 7-day period and underwent a brain MRI. Normalized GM volume (NGMV), normalized WM volume (NWMV), and deep GM structures were calculated from 3D T1-weighted structural brain images. We conducted partial correlations (pr) controlling for demographic and clinical variables. Results: Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was significantly associated with NGMV (pr=0.370, p<0.05), NWMV (pr=0.433, p<0.01), hippocampus (pr=0.499, p<0.01), thalamus (pr=0.380, p<0.05), caudate (pr=0.539, p<0.01), putamen (pr=0.369, p<0.05), and pallidum (pr=0.498, p<0.01) volumes, when controlling for sex, age, clinical course of MS, and Expanded Disability Status Scale score. There were no associations between sedentary and light physical activity with MRI outcomes. Conclusion: Our results provide the first evidence that MVPA is associated with volumes of whole brain GM and WM and deep GM structures that are involved in motor and cognitive functions in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number482536
JournalBehavioural Neurology
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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