Challenging The Neuroprotective Potential Of Physical Exercise: Insights Into Plasticity-related Mechanisms In The Aging Brain | 79030
Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism
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Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a prodromal stage of Alzheimer disease (AD). To date, therapeutic approaches to AD are symptomatic and of modest efficacy. Nonetheless, studies in animal and human populations suggested that physical training results in structural and functional brain changes. The current project aims at exploring brain mechanisms mediating the neuroprotective effect of different types of physical exercise among patients with amnestic MCI (aMCI). Specifically, we performed a comprehensive study to examine the effect of aerobic and non-aerobic training. Neuropsychological evaluations, assessment of neurotrophic factor (BDNF), cardiorespiratory fitness assessment and fMRI have been performed before the physical training and following the intervention. 24 participants suffering of aMCI carried out their activity routines 3 d/wk during 4 months under supervision of an experienced trainer. Inter-SC and GLM methods have been used for data analysis. Following intensive individual training, we found improvement in memory and executive functions in both physical training groups. In the fMRI, we found reliable responses in regions that are related to higher order processing of information: temporoparietal junction, marginal and supramarginal gyri, frontal areas. Hippocampal activation in memory encoding task increased following aerobic intervention. Increased BDNF was correlated with improved cognition, with no association with the type of exercise. The physical training results in functional and structural changes in a-MCI. Our findings demonstrated that cognitive performance can be affected by exercise of both types. The insights gained from the study may have important scientific value and clinical implications for individuals at the early stages of AD.
Yulia Lerner has completed her PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1994. Then she has been trained as a neuroscientist and conducted fruitful research at the New York University and Princeton University. Currently, she is a PI in the Neurocognitive lab at the Functional Brain Center, in the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. She has performed numerous cutting-edge studies that were published in first-rate journals.
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