Special Issue "Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Notger G. Müller
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Neuroprotection Lab, Magdeburg, Germany;
2. Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, Magdeburg, Germany;
3. Otto von Guericke University, Medical Faculty, Dpt. of Neurology, Magdeburg, Germany
Interests: dementia prevention; early diagnosis; cognitive interactions; training; neurophysiology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Patrick Müller
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Neuroprotection Lab, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
Interests: dementia; Alzheimer's disease; neuroplasticity; exercise; cognition; MRI; PET; neurobiology; diet; sleep; lifestyle interventions
Mr. Fabian Herold
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Neuroprotection Lab, Magdeburg, Germany
Interests: physical activity; strength training; resistance training; motor-cognitive training; personalized training; cognition; functional near-infrared spectroscopy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The interaction of physical activity and cognitive function with respect what we now call successful aging was and is extensively studied. In general, a wealth of studies indicate that short- and long-term physical activity can induce neuroplasticity even in the adult brain, affects cognitive performance positively and may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative dementia, a disease for which advanced age is the main risk factor.

However, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of physical activity on the human central nervous systems are not fully understood. A deeper understanding of the effects of physical activity on molecular, structural and functional brain changes seems urgently needed since this would allow us to develop more efficient prevention strategies to influence the maladaptive processes of aging on brain functioning. The great potential to influence neurobiological processes throughout physical activity is of substantial scientific and public interest when considering the consequences of age-related cognitive decline in conjunction with the demographic change.

As Guest Editors of this Special Issue, “Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain” we are excited to receive a number of interesting articles in this field.

Prof. Dr. Notger G. Müller
Dr. Patrick Müller
Mr. Fabian Herold
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Physical activity
  • Cognition
  • Neurobiological mechanisms
  • Dementia
  • Aging
  • Neuroplasticity

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Increased Time Difference between Imagined and Physical Walking in Older Adults at a High Risk of Falling
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 332; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060332 - 29 May 2020
Viewed by 1311
Abstract
Walking motor imagery ability is thought to be associated with a fear of falling; however, no studies have compared fall risk and motor imagery ability. This study aimed to ascertain the time difference between imagined and physical walking in older adults at low [...] Read more.
Walking motor imagery ability is thought to be associated with a fear of falling; however, no studies have compared fall risk and motor imagery ability. This study aimed to ascertain the time difference between imagined and physical walking in older adults at low and high risks of falling. Motor imagery ability was assessed using mental chronometry, which measures the imagined time required for movement. Participants included 31 older adults classified as having a high (n = 15) or low (n = 16) risk of falling based on single leg stance time. The time required for imagined and physical walking was measured using 5 m long walkways with three different widths (15, 25, and 50 cm), and the temporal errors (absolute and constant error) were compared. Physical walking time was significantly longer in the high-risk group than in the low-risk group for the 15 and 25 cm wide walkways. The absolute error between the imagined and physical walking times was significantly larger in the high-risk group than in the low-risk group for the 15 and 25 cm wide walkways. There was also a significant difference in the constant error between the high- and low-risk groups between the imagined and physical walking times for all three walkways. Older adults who may be at a higher risk of falling showed longer walking times during action execution but overestimated their performance (i.e., they believe they would be faster) during motor imagery. Therefore, the time difference between imagined and physical walking could, in part, be useful as a tool for assessing fall risk based on motor imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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Open AccessArticle
Timing-Dependent Protection of Swimming Exercise against d-Galactose-Induced Aging-Like Impairments in Spatial Learning/Memory in Rats
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(9), 236; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9090236 - 14 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1096
Abstract
This study was designed to investigate beneficial effects of swimming exercise training on learning/memory, synaptic plasticity and CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) expression in hippocampus in a rat model of d-galactose-induced aging (DGA). Eighty adult male rats were randomly divided into [...] Read more.
This study was designed to investigate beneficial effects of swimming exercise training on learning/memory, synaptic plasticity and CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) expression in hippocampus in a rat model of d-galactose-induced aging (DGA). Eighty adult male rats were randomly divided into four groups: Saline Control (group C), DGA (group A), Swimming exercise before DGA (group S1), and Swimming during DGA (group S2). These four groups of animals were further divided into Morris water maze training group (M subgroup) and sedentary control group (N subgroup). Spatial learning/memory was tested using Morris water maze training. The number and density of synaptophysin (Syp) and metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1) in hippocampal dentate gyrus area, CREB mRNA and protein expression and DNA methylation levels were determined respectively with immunohistochemistry, western blot, real-time PCR, and MassArray methylation detection platform. We found that compared with group C, DGA rats showed aging-like poor health and weight loss as well as hippocampal neurodegenerative characteristics. Exercise training led to a time-dependent decrease in average escape latency and improved spatial memory. Exercise training group (S2M) had significantly increased swim distance as compared with controls. These functional improvements in S2M group were associated with higher Syp and mGluR1 values in hippocampus (p < 0.01) as well as higher levels of hippocampal CREB protein/mRNA expression and gene methylation. In conclusion, swimming exercise training selectively during drug-induced aging process protected hippocampal neurons against DGA-elicited degenerative changes and in turn maintained neuronal synaptic plasticity and learning/memory function, possibly through upregulation of hippocampal CREB protein/mRNA and reduction of DGA-induced methylation of CREB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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Open AccessArticle
Superior Effects of Modified Chen-Style Tai Chi versus 24-Style Tai Chi on Cognitive Function, Fitness, and Balance Performance in Adults over 55
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(5), 102; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9050102 - 04 May 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3110
Abstract
Background: Cognitive decline and balance impairment are prevalent in the aging population. Previous studies investigated the beneficial effects of 24-style Tai Chi (TC-24) on either cognitive function or balance performance of older adults. It still remains largely unknown whether modified Chen-style TC (MTC) [...] Read more.
Background: Cognitive decline and balance impairment are prevalent in the aging population. Previous studies investigated the beneficial effects of 24-style Tai Chi (TC-24) on either cognitive function or balance performance of older adults. It still remains largely unknown whether modified Chen-style TC (MTC) that includes 18 complex movements is more beneficial for these age-related health outcomes, as compared to TC-24. Objective: We investigated if MTC would show greater effects than TC-24 on global cognitive function and balance-related outcomes among older adults. Methods: We conducted a randomized trial where 80 eligible adults aged over 55 were allocated into two different styles of Tai Chi (TC) arms (sixty-minute session × three times per week, 12 weeks). Outcome assessments were performed at three time periods (baseline, Week 6, and Week 12) and included the Chinese Version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) for overall cognitive function, One-leg Standing Test (LST) for static balance, Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT) for dynamic balance, chair Stand Test (CST) for leg power, and the six-meter Walk Test (6MWT) for aerobic exercise capacity. Results: Compared to TC-24 arm, MTC arm demonstrated significantly greater improvements in MoCA, LST, TUGT, CST, and 6MWT (all p < 0.05). Conclusions: Both forms of TC were effective in enhancing global cognitive function, balance, and fitness. Furthermore, MTC was more effective than TC-24 in enhancing these health-related parameters in an aging population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Working Memory, Cognitive Load and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: Testing the CRUNCH Model with Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(2), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9020038 - 09 Feb 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3384
Abstract
The present study aimed to examine the effects of chronological age and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) on cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex activity, and to test the compensation-related utilization of neural circuits hypothesis (CRUNCH). A total of 19 young adults (18–22 years) and 37 [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to examine the effects of chronological age and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) on cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex activity, and to test the compensation-related utilization of neural circuits hypothesis (CRUNCH). A total of 19 young adults (18–22 years) and 37 older ones (60–77 years) with a high or low CRF level were recruited to perform a working memory updating task under three different cognitive load conditions. Prefrontal cortex hemodynamic responses were continuously recorded using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, and behavioral performances and perceived difficulty were measured. Results showed that chronological age had deleterious effects on both cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex activation under a higher cognitive load. In older adults, however, higher levels of CRF were related to increased bilateral prefrontal cortex activation patterns that allowed them to sustain better cognitive performances, especially under the highest cognitive load. These results are discussed in the light of the neurocognitive CRUNCH model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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Review

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
The Contribution of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to the Understanding of the Effects of Acute Physical Exercise on Cognition
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(3), 175; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10030175 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1674
Abstract
The fact that a single bout of acute physical exercise has a positive impact on cognition is well-established in the literature, but the neural correlates that underlie these cognitive improvements are not well understood. Here, the use of neuroimaging techniques, such as functional [...] Read more.
The fact that a single bout of acute physical exercise has a positive impact on cognition is well-established in the literature, but the neural correlates that underlie these cognitive improvements are not well understood. Here, the use of neuroimaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), offers great potential, which is just starting to be recognized. This review aims at providing an overview of those studies that used fMRI to investigate the effects of acute physical exercises on cerebral hemodynamics and cognition. To this end, a systematic literature survey was conducted by two independent reviewers across five electronic databases. The search returned 668 studies, of which 14 studies met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed in this systematic review. Although the findings of the reviewed studies suggest that acute physical exercise (e.g., cycling) leads to profound changes in functional brain activation, the small number of available studies and the great variability in the study protocols limits the conclusions that can be drawn with certainty. In order to overcome these limitations, new, more well-designed trials are needed that (i) use a more rigorous study design, (ii) apply more sophisticated filter methods in fMRI data analysis, (iii) describe the applied processing steps of fMRI data analysis in more detail, and (iv) provide a more precise exercise prescription. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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Other

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Open AccessBrief Report
Mental Imagery and Acute Exercise on Episodic Memory Function
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(9), 237; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9090237 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 1314
Abstract
Mental imagery is used extensively in the sporting domain. It is used for performance-enhancement purposes, arousal regulation, affective and cognitive modification, and rehabilitation purposes. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate whether acute exercise and mental imagery of acute exercise have similar [...] Read more.
Mental imagery is used extensively in the sporting domain. It is used for performance-enhancement purposes, arousal regulation, affective and cognitive modification, and rehabilitation purposes. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate whether acute exercise and mental imagery of acute exercise have similar effects on cognitive performance, specifically memory function. A within-subject randomized controlled experiment was employed. Participants (N = 24; Mage = 21.5 years) completed two exercise-related visits (i.e., actual exercise and mental imagery of exercise), in a counterbalanced order. The acute-exercise session involved 10 min of intermittent sprints. The mental-imagery session involved a time-matched period of mental imagery. After each manipulation (i.e., acute exercise or mental imagery of acute exercise), memory was evaluated from a paired-associative learning task and a comprehensive evaluation of memory, involving spatial–temporal integration (i.e., what, where, and when aspects of memory). Bayesian analyses were computed to evaluate the effects of actual exercise and mental imagery of exercise on memory function. For the paired-associative learning task, there was moderate evidence in favor of the null hypothesis for a main effect for condition (BF01 = 2.85) and time by condition interaction (BF01 = 3.30). Similarly, there was moderate evidence in favor of the null hypothesis for overall (what-where-when) memory integration (BF01 = 3.37), what-loop (BF01 = 2.34), where-loop (BF01 = 3.45), and when-loop (BF01 = 3.46). This experiment provides moderate evidence in support of the null hypothesis. That is, there was moderate evidence to support a non-differential effect of acute exercise and mental imagery of acute exercise on memory function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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