Role of Aerobic Fitness and Aging on Cerebral White Matter Integrity

Authors

  • BONITA L. MARKS,

    1. Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    2. Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • DAVID J. MADDEN,

    1. Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • BARBARA BUCUR,

    1. Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • JAMES M. PROVENZALE,

    1. Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • LEONARD E. WHITE,

    1. Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    2. Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • ROBERTO CABEZA,

    1. Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    2. Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • SCOTT A. HUETTEL

    1. Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    3. Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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Address for correspondence: Bonita L. Marks, Ph.D., Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fetzer Gym, CB 8700, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8700. Voice: 919-962-2260; fax: 919-962-0489.
 marks@email.unc.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Neuroimaging research suggests that cerebral white matter (WM) integrity, as reflected in fractional anisotropy (FA) via diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), is decreased in older adults, especially in the prefrontal regions of the brain. Behavioral investigations of cognitive functioning suggest that some aspects of cognition may be better preserved in older adults who possess higher levels of aerobic fitness. There are only a few studies, however, investigating potential mechanisms for the improvements in aerobic fitness. Our study suggests that greater aerobic fitness may be related to greater WM integrity in select brain regions.

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