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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2012 October;52(5):537-44

language: English

Impact of a physical activity program on cerebral vasoreactivity in sedentary elderly people

Vicente-Campos D. 1, Mora J. 2, Castro-Piñero J. 2, González-Montesinos J. L. 2, Conde-Caveda J. 2, Chicharro J. L. 3

1 School of Physiotherapy, Francisco de Vitoria University, Madrid, Spain;
2 Department of Physical Education, School of Education, University of Cadiz, Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain;
3 Department of Infirmary, School of Infirmary, Physiotherapy and Podology, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain


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AIM: The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of a physical activity program on the hemodynamic response of the brain (vasoreactivity) in elderly people.
METHODS: Eighteen men and 25 women (aged 62-67 years) were randomly assigned to an experimental (EXP, N.=22, 12 women) and a control (CON, N.=21, 13 women) group. Subjects in EXP group were required to complete a 7-month program based on aerobic training (3-4 sessions/weekd, 50 min/session, 3-4 sessions/week, at 70% maximum heart rate). Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to examine the cerebral blood flow response to hypercapnic and hypocapnic stimuli. We also determined blood pressure, total serum cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, and conducted an aerobic capacity test (the 2.4-Km walking test).
RESULTS: Brain vasomotor reactivity improved in the EXP group, reflected by a higher blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in both cerebral hemispheres in response to hypercapnia (induced by breath holding) (P<0.05). Subjects in EXP group also improved the cardiovascular profile aerobic physical condition (P<0.001) in terms of reduced arterial pressure, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that cerebral vasoreactivity in elderly may be improved by undertaking an aerobic exercise program.

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