Role of aerobic fitness and aging on cerebral white matter integrity

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Feb;1097:171-4. doi: 10.1196/annals.1379.022.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerobiosis / physiology
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Anisotropy
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics