Identifying promoters of cerebral small vein integrity is important to counter vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia.
In this preliminary investigation, the effects of a randomized 24-month physical activity (PA) intervention on changes in cerebral small vein integrity were compared to those of a health education (HE) control.
Cerebral small vein integrity was measured in 24 older adults (n = 8, PA; n = 16, HE) using ultra-high field MRI before and at the end of the 24-month intervention. Deep medullary veins were defined as straight or tortuous; percent change in straight length, tortuous length, and tortuosity ratio were computed. Microbleed count and white matter hyperintensities were also rated.
Accelerometry-based values of PA increased by 17.2% in the PA group but declined by 28.0% in the HE group. The PA group, but not the HE group, had a significant increase in straight vein length from baseline to 24-month follow-up (P = 0.02 and P = 0.21, respectively); the between-group difference in percent change in straight length was significant (increase: median, 93.6%; interquartile range, 112.9 for PA; median, 28.4%; interquartile range, 90.6 for HE; P = 0.07). Between group differences in other markers were nonsignificant.
Increasing PA in late-life may promote cerebral small vein integrity. This should be confirmed in larger studies.
1Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
2Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
3Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
4Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
5Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
6Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
7Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD;
8Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA;
9Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC;
10Department of Radiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC;
11Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; and
12Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Address for correspondence: C. Elizabeth Shaaban, Ph.D., M.P.H., Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, 130 DeSoto St, 5121B Public Health Bldg, Pittsburgh, PA 15261; E-mail: Beth.Shaaban@pitt.edu.
Submitted for publication September 2018.
Accepted for publication February 2019.
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Online date: February 27, 2019