The Effects of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults With and Without Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease
As of 2010, the number of individuals aged 65 and older has grown to over 40 million persons. As a result, dementia is also rapidly on the rise, with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) accounting for 70% of all cases of dementia (Hampel et al., 2004). The positive effect of exercise and physical activity on cognition holds promise for mitigating the effects of AD. This researcher explored the relationship between physical activity and its effect on cognitive functioning. In particular, 2 x 2 x 2 analyses of variance (ANOVA) were carried out to assess any potential interaction between physical activity, the biomarkers amyloid-β/tau and apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) on current levels of cognitive functioning. Cognitive functioning was in turn measured using the California Verbal Learning Test Long Delay Free Recall, Trail B, and Stroop Color Word Interference Test scores. Fifty individuals 63 and older and evenly balanced for gender and education were compared on cognitive functioning based on level of physical activity, ApoE4 status and amyloid-β status using 2 x 2 x 2 ANOVAs. Results indicated no significant relationship between physical activity, biomarkers, and cognitive functioning. Independent analysis of physical activity on cognition also failed to show any significant correlation. Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) and ApoE genotype were significantly correlated with better performance on Trail B. CSF was also found to be correlated with faster performance on the Stroop interference test. Lack of findings between physical activity and cognitive function were surmised to be based on and insufficient physical activity data.
Alzheimer's disease, Dementia, Cognition, Aging, Exercise for older people, Cognitive psychology
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