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Physical activity is associated with lower cerebral beta-amyloid and cognitive function benefits from lifetime experience-a study in exceptional aging


Treyer, Valerie; Meyer, Rafael S; Buchmann, Andreas; Crameri, Giovanni A G; Studer, Sandro; Saake, Antje; Gruber, Esmeralda; Unschuld, Paul G; Nitsch, Roger M; Hock, Christoph; Gietl, Anton F (2021). Physical activity is associated with lower cerebral beta-amyloid and cognitive function benefits from lifetime experience-a study in exceptional aging. PLoS ONE, 16(2):e0247225.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Exceptional agers (85+ years) are characterized by preserved cognition presumably due to high cognitive reserve. In the current study, we examined whether personality, risk and protective factors for dementia as well as quality of life are associated with core features of Alzheimer's disease (amyloid-deposition and hippocampal volume) as well as cognition in exceptional aging.

METHODS

We studied 49 exceptional agers (average 87.8 years, range 84-94 years), with preserved activities of daily living and absence of dementia. All participants received a detailed clinical and neuropsychological examination. We used established questionnaires to measure lifetime experience, personality, recent physical and cognitive activity as well as quality of life. Cerebral amyloid-deposition was estimated by 18-[F]-Flutemetamol-PET and manual hippocampal volumetry was performed on 3D T1 MRI images.

RESULTS

In this sample of exceptional agers with preserved activities of daily living, we found intact cognitive performance in the subjects with the highest amyloid-load in the brain, but a lower quality of life with respect to autonomy as well as higher neuroticism. Higher self-reported physical activity in the last twelve months went with a lower amyloid load. Higher self-reported leisure-time/ not work-related activity went with better executive functioning at older age.

CONCLUSION

Even in exceptional aging, high amyloid load may subtly influence personality and quality of life. Our findings support a close relationship between high physical activity and low amyloid-deposition and underscore the importance of extracurricular activities for executive functions. As executive functions are known to be a central resource for everyday functioning in fostering extracurricular activities may be effective in delaying the onset of dementia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Exceptional agers (85+ years) are characterized by preserved cognition presumably due to high cognitive reserve. In the current study, we examined whether personality, risk and protective factors for dementia as well as quality of life are associated with core features of Alzheimer's disease (amyloid-deposition and hippocampal volume) as well as cognition in exceptional aging.

METHODS

We studied 49 exceptional agers (average 87.8 years, range 84-94 years), with preserved activities of daily living and absence of dementia. All participants received a detailed clinical and neuropsychological examination. We used established questionnaires to measure lifetime experience, personality, recent physical and cognitive activity as well as quality of life. Cerebral amyloid-deposition was estimated by 18-[F]-Flutemetamol-PET and manual hippocampal volumetry was performed on 3D T1 MRI images.

RESULTS

In this sample of exceptional agers with preserved activities of daily living, we found intact cognitive performance in the subjects with the highest amyloid-load in the brain, but a lower quality of life with respect to autonomy as well as higher neuroticism. Higher self-reported physical activity in the last twelve months went with a lower amyloid load. Higher self-reported leisure-time/ not work-related activity went with better executive functioning at older age.

CONCLUSION

Even in exceptional aging, high amyloid load may subtly influence personality and quality of life. Our findings support a close relationship between high physical activity and low amyloid-deposition and underscore the importance of extracurricular activities for executive functions. As executive functions are known to be a central resource for everyday functioning in fostering extracurricular activities may be effective in delaying the onset of dementia.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Nuclear Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:22 Feb 2021 15:10
Last Modified:22 Feb 2021 15:12
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247225
PubMed ID:33606797

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