Brain Activation During Dual-task Processing is Associated with Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Performance in Older Adults

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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.;

Description

Keywords

Aging, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Executive functions (Neuropsychology), Exercise, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Older people, Gyrus Cinguli, Motor Cortex

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National Institute on Aging [RO1 AG25667, RO1 AG25032]

Rights

CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2015 The Authors

Citation