Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fitness counteracts cognitive decline from hormone-replacement therapy

25.01.2006


Women pondering hormone-replacement therapy also should consider regular exercise. A new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that being physically fit offsets cognitive declines attributed to long-term therapy.

"This study not only tells us that there is a benefit to being highly fit, it pinpoints where in the brain it matters for postmenopausal women who have been using the two strategies," said lead author Kirk I. Erickson, a postdoctoral researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.

The study appeared online this month in advance of regular publication in the journal Neurobiology of Aging. By using magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry (VBM), researchers documented the combined effects on specific areas of the brain based on fitness of short- and long-term users of hormone therapy.



Researchers also looked at how well 54 postmenopausal women performed on a computerized version of the Wisconsin Card Sort Test, in which constantly changing rules challenge memory, inhibition and task-switching abilities known as executive functions. The women were divided into groups based on use or non-use and duration of hormone therapy and existing fitness levels.

"We found that higher fitness levels enhance the effects of shorter durations of hormone treatment and offset the declines associated with long-term use," said Arthur F. Kramer, a Beckman researcher and psychology professor. "It may be that a combination of HRT and exercise boosts both cognition and brain structure of older women."

Participants ranged in age from 58 to 80, with a mean age of 70. Hormone status and duration of use were assessed based on their self-reports, and aerobic fitness was measured by monitoring respiration, heart rate and blood pressure during a treadmill test.

MRI images of the participants’ brains were taken, segmented into 3-D maps and analyzed by VBM, which allows for high spatial resolution of the volume of gray and white matter. The women also were screened for duration of hormone use, aerobic fitness levels, age, education, socioeconomic status, age at menopause and for dementia.

VBM analysis revealed that four regions of gray matter -- left and right prefrontal cortex, left parahippocampal gyrus and left subgenual cortex -- varied with duration of hormone treatment. Longer hormone usage resulted in significantly less tissue volume in these areas. However, higher fitness scores were tied to greater tissue volume.

While there were no significant effects of the interaction of hormone duration and fitness on white matter in general, higher fitness levels were tied to greater prefrontal white matter regions and in the genu of the corpus callosum, a key area that interconnects frontal areas of the brain.

"Critically, the tissue volume measures in all four gray matter regions revealed that high fitness levels were associated with a more modest decline in regional brain volume than low fitness levels with increasing durations of hormone therapy," the researchers wrote. "High fitness levels also were associated with a significant sparing of the neural tissue of women not receiving hormone replacement therapy."

Durations of therapy of less than 10 years showed enhanced tissue volume compared with all other groups, and the decline in tissue volume only began after 11 to 15 years of hormone-replacement therapy.

Erickson and Kramer noted that their findings in women were in line with previous animal studies that have found that estrogen and fitness have similar mechanisms in the brain. Estrogen and fitness both stimulate brain-derived neurotropic factor, a molecule tied to the production of capillaries, plasticity and neurons.

These preliminary findings are based on only a small sampling of women and need to be considered in a much broader clinical setting, Kramer said. However, the findings mirror similar studies in his lab that are continuing to show the benefits of physical fitness in older people.

Co-authors with Erickson and Kramer were Stanley J. Colcombe, a research scientist at the Beckman Institute; Paige E. Scalf, a postdoctoral researcher in Kramer’s lab; Edward McAuley, a Beckman researcher and professor of kinesiology and psychology; McAuley’s former doctoral student Steriani Elavsky; and Donna L. Korol, professor of psychology.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>