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Physical Activity and Cerebral Small Vein Integrity in Older Adults

SHAABAN, C. ELIZABETH1,2; AIZENSTEIN, HOWARD JAY2,3; JORGENSEN, DANA R.1,2; MAHBUBANI, REBECCA L. M.3; MECKES, NICOLE A.4; ERICKSON, KIRK I.2,5; GLYNN, NANCY W.1; METTENBURG, JOSEPH6; GURALNIK, JACK7; NEWMAN, ANNE B.1; IBRAHIM, TAMER S.6,8; LAURIENTI, PAUL J.9,10; VALLEJO, ABBE N.11,12; ROSANO, CATERINA1,2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 8 - p 1684–1691
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001952
APPLIED SCIENCES
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Identifying promoters of cerebral small vein integrity is important to counter vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia.

Purpose 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.

Methods 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.

Results 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.

Conclusions 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.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (www.acsm-msse.org).

Online date: February 27, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine