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Abstract #2600

Increased Intracortical R1 in the Motor Cortex of Exercising Older Adults

Christopher Dennis Rowley1,2, Ralf Deichmann3, Tobias Engeroff4, Elke Hattingen5, Rainer Hellweg6, Ulrich Pilatus5, Eszter Füzéki4, Sina Gerten4, Lutz Vogt4, Winfried Banzer4, Johannes Pantel7, Johannes Fleckenstein4, Silke Matura7,8, and Nicholas A Bock9

1Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 2Neuroscience, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, 3Brain Imaging Center Frankfurt/M., Frankfurt, Germany, 4Department of Sports Medicine, Institute of Sports Sciences, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 5Institute of Neuroradiology, Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany, 6Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 7Institute of General Practice, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 8Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany, 9Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Exercise is known to be beneficial for brain health and performance; however, it is not known if changes in cortical microstructure underlie this effect. To investigate this, R1 maps acquired on cognitively healthy older adults (n=24, 65-90 years old) were analyzed before and after a 12-week exercise intervention. R1 prolongation indicating increased myelin levels were significant in the right (p=0.033) and trending in the left (p=0.052) leg motor regions with respect to a control group (n=22). ΔR1 correlated with aerobic cycling performance improvements (left: p=0.012, right: p=0.011). This study demonstrates that exercise promotes myelination in cortical motor regions.

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