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Aerobic exercise, cardiorespiratory fitness, and the human hippocampus

Aghjayan, S.L., Lesnovskaya, A., Esteban‐Cornejo, I., Peven, J.C., Stillman, C.M. and Erickson, K.I. (2021) Aerobic exercise, cardiorespiratory fitness, and the human hippocampus. Hippocampus . Early View.

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The hippocampus is particularly susceptible to neurodegeneration. Physical activity, specifically increasing cardiorespiratory fitness via aerobic exercise, shows promise as a potential method for mitigating hippocampal decline in humans. Numerous studies have now investigated associations between the structure and function of the hippocampus and engagement in physical activity. Still, there remains continued debate and confusion about the relationship between physical activity and the human hippocampus. In this review, we describe the current state of the physical activity and exercise literature as it pertains to the structure and function of the human hippocampus, focusing on four magnetic resonance imaging measures: volume, diffusion tensor imaging, resting-state functional connectivity, and perfusion. We conclude that, despite significant heterogeneity in study methods, populations of interest, and scope, there are consistent positive findings, suggesting a promising role for physical activity in promoting hippocampal structure and function throughout the lifespan.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC
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