Aging is associated with deterioration in a number of cognitive functions. Many studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of physical fitness on cognitive function, especially executive function. The graph theoretical approach models the brain as a complex network represented graphically as nodes and edges. In this study, we analyzed several measures of executive function, an index of physical fitness, and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from healthy elderly volunteers to examine the associations among executive function, cardiorespiratory fitness, and brain network properties. The topological neural properties were related to the level of executive function and/or physical fitness. Global efficiency, which represents how well the whole brain is integrated, was positively related, whereas local efficiency, which represents how well the brain is functionally segregated, was negatively related, to the level of executive function and fitness. The associations among executive function, physical fitness and topological resting state functional network property appear related to compensation and dedifferentiation in older age. A mediation analysis showed that high-fit older adults gain higher global efficiency of the brain at the expense of lower local efficiency. Our data suggest that physical fitness may be beneficial in maintaining executive function in healthy aging by enhancing the efficiency of the global brain network.
Audience take away:
- The audience would understand the beneficial effects of physical exercise on executive functions in elderly.
- I will also illustrate how this beneficial effect emerges through enhanced efficiency of functional connectivity of the brain.
This presentation will give the utility of graph theory for analyzing the complex brain network obtained from resting state BOLD signals using MRI.