Non-Exercise Estimated Cardiorespiratory Fitness: Associations with Brain Structure, Cognition, and Memory Complaints in Older Adults.

Author(s): McAuley E,  Szabo AN,  Mailey EL,  Erickson KI,  Voss M,  White SM,  Wójcicki TR,  Gothe N,  Olson EA,  Mullen SP,  Kramer AF

Journal: Ment Health Phys Act

Date: 2011 Jun 1

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CPFP

PubMed ID: 21808657

PMC ID: PMC3146052

Abstract: There is increasing evidence that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with brain structure and function, and improvements in CRF through exercise training have been associated with neural and cognitive functioning in older adults. The objectives of this study were to validate the use of a non-exercise estimate of CRF, and to examine its association with cognitive function, brain structure and subjective memory complaints. Low active, older adults (N = 86; M age= 65.14) completed a physician-supervised maximal exercise test, a 1-mile timed walk, several measures of cognitive function, and a 3 Tesla structural MRI. Fitness was also calculated from an equation derived by (Jurca et al., 2005) based on age, sex, body mass index, resting heart rate, and self-reported physical activity level. Analyses indicated that all three measures of CRF were significantly correlated with one another. In addition, measures of cognitive function, hippocampus volume, and memory complaints were significantly correlated with each measure of fitness. These findings have implications for using a low-risk, low-cost, non-exercise estimate of CRF in determining fitness associations with brain structure and cognitive function in older adults. As such, this measure may have utility for larger population based studies. Further validation is required, as is determination of whether such relationships hold over the course of exercise interventions.