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The relationships between aerobic physical activity, prospective memory and resting brain glucose metabolism in older adults

Jorgensen, A., Weinborn, M. and Brown, B.ORCID: 0000-0001-7927-2540 (2018) The relationships between aerobic physical activity, prospective memory and resting brain glucose metabolism in older adults. Australian Psychologist, 53 (Supp. 1). p. 14.

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Aim: Currently, there are no pharmaceutical interventions available for dementia. Attention has turned to lifestyle interventions, such as aerobic physical activity, that may maintain brain health and delay early cognitive decline. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between aerobic physical activity and prospective memory in healthy older adults and whether this relationship is mediated by brain health (as indexed by resting brain glucose metabolism). These relationships have implications for creating successful early intervention programs for abnormal aging due to dementia. Design: As this was the first time these relationships have been investigated, a cross-sectional correlational design was used. A simple mediation model using ordinary least squares path analysis in the PROCESS macro for SPSS was carried out, with aerobic physical activity as the predictor, resting brain glucose metabolism as the mediator and prospective memory performance as the outcome. Method: A total of 103 communitydwelling volunteers were drawn from the Western Australian Memory Study cohort, an ongoing longitudinal study into biological and neuropsychological markers of dementia. Participants with a history of psychiatric or neurological disorders or those younger than 60 years were excluded. A final sample of 75 older adults completed the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors questionnaire, the Western Australian prospective memory test, and had a resting-state 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography scan. Results: Higher reported levels of aerobic physical activity related at trend level to better event-based prospective memory (r = .20, p < .10). However, this was not mediated by resting brain glucose metabolism, as no indirect effect was found. An exploratory post-hoc analysis provided tentative evidence that the relationship between aerobic physical activity and event-based prospective memory may be mediated by depression levels (as measured by the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21). A trend level indirect effect through depression was found, with an index of mediation of .026, suggesting a small effect size (90% BCa = .0014, .0748) Conclusion: The results suggest that aerobic physical activity may be useful in decreasing subclinical levels of depression as well as maintaining independence in older adults struggling with declines in prospective memory. With further research, the relationships between physical activity, depression and prospective memory may be used in early intervention programs to postpone or even prevent Alzheimer ‘s Disease and Vascular Dementia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: © 2018 The Australian Psychological Society
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