Low levels of midlife fitness may be associated with smaller brain tissue volume later

“Great study of 1,583 participants without dementia using brain scans and fitness tests. Note this:  “observed that participants who had an especially high heart rate and blood pressure during the most vigorous exercise had notably smaller brain volumes 20 years later“. Bill Chesnut, MD

Low levels of midlife fitness may be associated with smaller brain tissue volume later

Reuters (2/10, Rapaport) reports that people who are not physically fit in midlife have an increased chance of having lower brain tissue volume in late life, compared to people who take part in regular exercise during their middle years, the findings of a study published online Feb. 10 in Neurology suggest.

TIME (2/10, Sifferlin) reports that investigators “looked at 1,583 men and women who didn’t have dementia or heart disease,” all of whom “worked out on a treadmill to assess their fitness levels.” Two decades later, study participant underwent “another treadmill fitness test and had brain scans.”

Newsweek (2/10, Firger) reports that “smaller brain volume” was found to correlate “with lower levels of physical fitness.” In addition, investigators “observed that participants who had an especially high heart rate and blood pressure during the most vigorous exercise had notably smaller brain volumes” 20 years later. While the study did not “measure rates of cognitive decline” in participants, “a decrease in brain volume is a strong indicator of declining function.”