To cross-validate the psychometric properties of the abbreviated Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument (LL-FDI), a measure of perceived functional limitations and disability.
Baseline and 12-month follow-up assessments conducted across the course of a 12-month exercise program.
University research community.
Older healthy adults (N=179; mean ± SD age, 66.43±5.67y) at baseline; 145 were retained at follow-up.
Main Outcome Measures
LL-FDI and functional performance measures.
Factor analyses confirmed the factor structure of the abbreviated LL-FDI, and all subscales met minimal criteria for temporal invariance. Significant correlations also were found between functional limitations subscales and an array of physical function performance measures, supporting the scale’s construct validity.
The abbreviated LL-FDI with some modifications appears to be temporally invariant in community-dwelling older adults. Additionally, moderate relationships between functional limitations and functional performance provide further support for these being conceptually distinct constructs.
Geriatrics; Longitudinal studies; Psychometrics; Rehabilitation
Over the next twenty years the number of Americans diagnosed with dementia is expected to more than double (CDC 2007). It is, therefore, an important public health initiative to understand what factors contribute to the longevity of a healthy mind. Both default mode network (DMN) function and increased aerobic fitness have been associated with better cognitive performance and reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among older adults. Here we examine the association between aerobic fitness, functional connectivity in the DMN, and cognitive performance. Results showed significant age-related deficits in functional connectivity in both local and distributed DMN pathways. However, in a group of healthy elderly adults, almost half of the age-related disconnections showed increased functional connectivity as a function of aerobic fitness level. Finally, we examine the hypothesis that functional connectivity in the DMN is one source of variance in the relationship between aerobic fitness and cognition. Results demonstrate instances of both specific and global DMN connectivity mediating the relationship between fitness and cognition. We provide the first evidence for functional connectivity as a source of variance in the association between aerobic fitness and cognition, and discuss results in the context of neurobiological theories of cognitive aging and disease.
cognitive aging; fMRI; functional connectivity; aerobic exercise; executive function; spatial memory
Aging is marked by a decline in cognitive function, which is often preceded by losses in gray matter volume. Fortunately, higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) levels are associated with an attenuation of age-related losses in gray matter volume and a reduced risk for cognitive impairment. Despite these links, we have only a rudimentary understanding of whether fitness-related increases in gray matter volume lead to elevated cognitive function. In this cross-sectional study, we examined whether the association between higher aerobic fitness levels and elevated executive function was mediated by greater gray matter volume in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). One hundred and forty-two older adults (mean age = 66.6 years) completed structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, CRF assessments, and performed Stroop and spatial working memory (SPWM) tasks. Gray matter volume was assessed using an optimized voxel-based morphometry approach. Consistent with our predictions, higher fitness levels were associated with (a) better performance on both the Stroop and SPWM tasks, and (b) greater gray matter volume in several regions, including the dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC). Volume of the right inferior frontal gyrus and precentral gyrus mediated the relationship between CRF and Stroop interference while a non-overlapping set of regions bilaterally in the DLPFC mediated the association between CRF and SPWM accuracy. These results suggest that specific regions of the DLPFC differentially relate to inhibition and spatial working memory. Thus, fitness may influence cognitive function by reducing brain atrophy in targeted areas in healthy older adults.
cardiorespiratory fitness; executive function; voxel-based morphometry; cortical volume; prefrontal cortex; mediation
Data from the Healthy Aging Network (HAN) study (Prohaska, T., Eisenstein, A., Satariano, W., Hunter, R., Bayles, C., Kurtovich, E., … Ivey, S. . Walking and the preservation of cognitive function in older populations. The Gerontologist, 49[Suppl. 1], S86–S93; and Satariano, W., Ivey, S., Kurtovich, E., Kealey, M., Hubbard, A., Bayles, C., … Prohaska, T. . Lower-body function, neighborhoods, and walking in an older population. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38, 419–428.) were used to examine the relationships among physical activity, self-efficacy, functional performance, and limitations.
Interviews were conducted within homes and senior centers in 4 geographic regions across the United States. Participants were 884 older adults (M age = 74.8; 77% female; 35% minority status) who completed measures of walking behavior, way-finding self-efficacy, walking self-efficacy, functional performance, functional limitations, and demographic characteristics.
Path analysis within a covariance modeling framework revealed significant direct effects of walking on self-efficacy constructs, functional performance on functional limitations, and efficacy on limitations. Additionally, significant indirect effects were also found, including walking on limitations via walking self-efficacy and performance and walking self-efficacy on limitations via performance. Furthermore, we found support for invariance of the model across geographical grouping.
Our findings provide further validation for an efficacy-based model of functional limitations. Walking-related efficacy may help reduce or possibly delay the onset of functional limitations.
Aging; Functional limitations; Physical activity; Self-efficacy
Most breast cancer survivors do not engage in regular physical activity. Our physical activity behavior change intervention for breast cancer survivors significantly improved physical activity and health outcomes post-intervention during a pilot, feasibility study. Testing in additional sites with a larger sample and longer follow-up is warranted to confirm program effectiveness short and longer term. Importantly, the pilot intervention resulted in changes in physical activity and social cognitive theory constructs, enhancing our potential for testing mechanisms mediating physical activity behavior change. Here, we report the rationale, design, and methods for a two-site, randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of the BEAT Cancer physical activity behavior change intervention to usual care on short and longer term physical activity adherence among breast cancer survivors. Secondary aims include examining social cognitive theory mechanisms of physical activity behavior change and health benefits of the intervention. Study recruitment goal is 256 breast cancer survivors with a history of ductal carcinoma in situ or Stage I, II, or IIIA disease who have completed primary cancer treatment. Outcome measures are obtained at baseline, 3 months (i.e., immediately post-intervention), 6 months, and 12 months and include physical activity, psychosocial factors, fatigue, sleep quality, lower extremity joint dysfunction, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and waist-to-hip ratio. Confirming behavior change effectiveness, health effects, and underlying mechanisms of physical activity behavior change interventions will facilitate translation to community settings for improving the health and well-being of breast cancer survivors.
oncology; exercise; survivorship; predictors; adherence
The Flexibility, Toning, and Balance (FlexToBa™) Trial is a two-armed randomized controlled trial which will contrast the effects of a DVD-delivered, home-based, physical activity intervention and a Healthy Aging attention control condition on physical activity, functional performance, functional limitations, and quality of life in low active, older adults. This innovative trial will recruit 300 participants across central Illinois who will be randomized into the intervention arm or control arm of the study. The intervention will last 6 months with a 6 month follow-up. Assessments at baseline, post intervention and follow-up will include physical activity (self-report and accelerometry), a battery of functional performance measures, functional limitations, quality of life, and an array of psychological health measures. In addition, measures of external validity will be included to determine public health significance of a successful outcome. Participants will engage in a progressive series of activities focusing on flexibility, strengthening, and balance exercises which are demonstrated by a trained exercise leader and age-appropriate models on a series of DVDs. Delivery of the intervention has its basis in social cognitive theory. The specific aims of the trial are (a) to determine the effects of the DVD-delivered FlexToBa™ program on physical activity, functional performance, functional limitations, and quality of life, (b) to examine the mediators of the relationships between physical activity and functional limitations and quality of life, (c) to assess external validity indicators relative to the intervention, and (d) to determine differential effects of the intervention on psychosocial health measures.
Physical activity; older adults; functional limitations; functional performance; quality of life
The purpose of the current study was to prospectively test the utility of a social cognitive theory (SCT) model of physical activity behavior over an 18-month period in middle-aged and older adults (N = 321; M age = 63.8 years).
Participants completed measures of self-efficacy, disability limitations, goals, outcome expectations, and physical activity at baseline and follow-up. Self-efficacy was hypothesized to influence physical activity both directly and indirectly through goals and outcome expectations. Relationships were examined using panel analysis within a covariance modeling framework.
The model provided an excellent fit to the data (χ2 = 36.16, df = 30, p = .20; comparative fit index = 1.00; root mean square error of approximation = .03). At baseline, self-efficacy was directly related to outcome expectations, disability limitations, goals, and physical activity and indirectly related to physical activity through physical outcome expectations. Changes in self-efficacy were significantly related to residual changes in outcome expectations, disability limitations, goals, and physical activity and indirectly related to residual changes in physical activity through changes in physical and social outcome expectations.
These results provide further support for the use of SCT to physical activity behavior in middle-aged and older adults. Self-efficacy influenced physical activity both directly and indirectly via outcome expectations, suggesting that these variables should be targeted in physical activity interventions for middle-aged and older adults.
Middle aged; Older adults; Physical activity; Social cognitive theory
Evidence suggests that a history of head trauma is associated with memory deficits later in life. The majority of previous research has focused on moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), but recent evidence suggests that even a mild TBI (mTBI) can interact with the aging process and produce reductions in memory performance. This study examined the association of mTBI with memory and the brain by comparing young and middle-aged adults who have had mTBI in their recent (several years ago) and remote (several decades ago) past, respectively, with control subjects on a face-scene relational memory paradigm while they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Hippocampal volumes were also examined from high-resolution structural images. Results indicated middle-aged adults with a head injury in their remote past had impaired memory compared to gender, age, and education matched control participants, consistent with previous results in the study of memory, aging, and TBI. The present findings extended previous results by demonstrating that these individuals also had smaller bilateral hippocampi, and had reduced neural activity during memory performance in cortical regions important for memory retrieval. These results indicate that a history of mTBI may be one of the many factors that negatively influence cognitive and brain health in aging.
mTBI; hippocampus; aging; relational memory; fMRI
This study examines differential trajectories of exercise-related self-efficacy beliefs across a 12-month randomized controlled exercise trial.
Previously inactive older adults (N = 144; M age = 66.5) were randomly assigned to one of two exercise conditions (walking, flexibility-toning-balance) and completed measures of barriers self-efficacy (BARSE), exercise self-efficacy (EXSE), and self-efficacy for walking (SEW) across a 12-month period. Changes in efficacy were examined according to efficacy type and inter-individual differences. Latent growth curve modeling was employed to (a) examine average levels and change in each type of efficacy for the collapsed sample and by intervention condition, and (b) explore subpopulations (i.e., latent classes) within the sample that differ in their baseline efficacy and trajectory.
Analyses revealed two negative trends in BARSE and EXSE at predicted transition points, in addition to a positive linear trend in SEW. Two subgroups with unique baseline efficacy and trajectory profiles were also identified.
These results shed new light on the relationship between exercise and self-efficacy in older adults, and highlight the need for strategies for increasing and maintaining efficacy within interventions, namely targeting participants who start with a disadvantage (lower efficacy) and integrating efficacy-boosting strategies for all participants prior to program end.
exercise; self-efficacy; trajectories of change; aging
Regular physical activity has established physical and mental health benefits; however, merely one quarter of the U.S. adult population meets national physical activity recommendations. In an effort to engage individuals who do not meet these guidelines, researchers have utilized popular emerging technologies, including mobile devices (ie, personal digital assistants [PDAs], mobile phones). This study is the first to synthesize current research focused on the use of mobile devices for increasing physical activity.
To conduct a meta-analysis of research utilizing mobile devices to influence physical activity behavior. The aims of this review were to: (1) examine the efficacy of mobile devices in the physical activity setting, (2) explore and discuss implementation of device features across studies, and (3) make recommendations for future intervention development.
We searched electronic databases (PubMed, PsychINFO, SCOPUS) and identified publications through reference lists and requests to experts in the field of mobile health. Studies were included that provided original data and aimed to influence physical activity through dissemination or collection of intervention materials with a mobile device. Data were extracted to calculate effect sizes for individual studies, as were study descriptives. A random effects meta-analysis was conducted using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software suite. Study quality was assessed using the quality of execution portion of the Guide to Community Preventative Services data extraction form.
Four studies were of “good” quality and seven of “fair” quality. In total, 1351 individuals participated in 11 unique studies from which 18 effects were extracted and synthesized, yielding an overall weight mean effect size of g = 0.54 (95% CI = 0.17 to 0.91, P = .01).
Research utilizing mobile devices is gaining in popularity, and this study suggests that this platform is an effective means for influencing physical activity behavior. Our focus must be on the best possible use of these tools to measure and understand behavior. Therefore, theoretically grounded behavior change interventions that recognize and act on the potential of smartphone technology could provide investigators with an effective tool for increasing physical activity.
Behavior change, exercise, meta-analysis, mobile phone, physical activity, review
The purpose of this study was to extend our earlier work to determine the extent to which cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with the frequency of memory problems via its effects on the hippocampus and spatial working memory. We hypothesized that age, sex, education, body composition, and physical activity were direct determinants of fitness which, in turn, influenced frequency of forgetting indirectly through hippocampal volume and spatial working memory.
We conducted assessments of hippocampal volume, spatial working memory, frequency of forgetting, BMI, physical activity, demographic characteristics, and cardiorespiratory fitness in 158 older adults (M age = 66.49). Path analyses within a covariance modeling framework were used to examine relationships among these constructs.
Sex, age, BMI, and education were all significant determinants of cardiorespiratory fitness. The hypothesized path models testing the effects of fitness on frequency of forgetting through hippocampal volume and accuracy and speed of spatial working memory all fit the data well.
Our findings suggest that older adults with higher levels of fitness show greater preservation of hippocampal volume which, in turn, is associated with more accurate and faster spatial memory and fewer episodes of forgetting. Given the proportion of older adults reporting memory problems, it is necessary to determine whether improvements in fitness brought about by physical activity interventions can result in subsequent attenuation of memory problems or potentially improvements in memory.
Frequency of Forgetting; Hippocampus Volume; Cardiorespiratory Fitness; Spatial Memory; Older Adults
Self-efficacy and the use of self-regulatory strategies are consistently associated with physical activity behavior. Similarly, behavioral inhibition and cognitive resource allocation, indices of executive control function, have also been associated with this health behavior.
The purpose of this study was to examine the hypothesis that self-efficacy mediates the relationship between self-regulatory processes, such as executive function, and sustained exercise behavior.
Older adults (N = 177, mean age = 66.44 years) completed measures of executive function, self-reported use of self-regulatory strategies and self-efficacy prior to and during the first month of a 12-month exercise intervention. Percentage of exercise classes attended over the following 11 months was used to represent adherence. Data were collected from 2007 to 2010 and analyzed in 2010–2011. Structural equation models were tested examining the effect of executive function and strategy use on adherence via efficacy.
As hypothesized, results showed significant direct effects of two elements of executive function and of strategy use on self-efficacy and of efficacy on adherence. In addition, there were significant indirect effects of strategy use and executive function on adherence via self-efficacy.
Higher levels of executive function and use of self-regulatory strategies at the start of an exercise program enhance beliefs in exercise capabilities, which in turn leads to greater adherence.
This 12-month, 2 arm, single blind randomized controlled exercise trial examined relationships among changes in multidimensional self-esteem as a function of intervention mode (i.e., walking vs. flexibility-toning-balance). Data were collected on three equidistant occasions (baseline, 6 and 12 months). One-hundred seventy-nine older adults (Mage = 66.38) began the study and 145 completed assessments at all time points. Participants completed measures of physical and global self-esteem as well as demographic information. There were no significant group differences at baseline on these demographic indicators or esteem variables. Data were analyzed using linear and parallel process growth modeling procedures. Results supported the position that across both groups, domain-level (i.e., physical self-worth) was dependent upon sub-domain-level (i.e., perceived attractiveness, strength, and condition) esteem change. Furthermore, greater improvements were observed in the flexibility-toning-balance group, in terms of perceived strength and attractiveness esteem, compared to the walking group. Our findings support theoretically-based predictions and extend the literature showing unique psychological responses conditional on specific types of physical activities.
Self perceptions; Physical activity; Growth models; Modes of exercise
The basal ganglia play a central role in regulating the response selection abilities that are critical for mental flexibility. In neocortical areas, higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels are associated with increased gray matter volume, and these volumetric differences mediate enhanced cognitive performance in a variety of tasks. Here we examine whether cardiorespiratory fitness correlates with the volume of the subcortical nuclei that make up the basal ganglia and whether this relationship predicts cognitive flexibility in older adults. Structural MRI was used to determine the volume of the basal ganglia nuclei in a group of older, neurologically healthy individuals (mean age 66 years, N = 179). Measures of cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max), cognitive flexibility (task switching), and attentional control (flanker task) were also collected. Higher fitness levels were correlated with higher accuracy rates in the Task Switching paradigm. In addition, the volume of the caudate nucleus, putamen, and globus pallidus positively correlated with Task Switching accuracy. Nested regression modeling revealed that caudate nucleus volume was a significant mediator of the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness, and task switching performance. These findings indicate that higher cardiorespiratory fitness predicts better cognitive flexibility in older adults through greater grey matter volume in the dorsal striatum.
There is increasing evidence that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with brain structure and function, and improvements in CRF through exercise training have been associated with neural and cognitive functioning in older adults. The objectives of this study were to validate the use of a non-exercise estimate of CRF, and to examine its association with cognitive function, brain structure and subjective memory complaints. Low active, older adults (N = 86; M age= 65.14) completed a physician-supervised maximal exercise test, a 1-mile timed walk, several measures of cognitive function, and a 3 Tesla structural MRI. Fitness was also calculated from an equation derived by (Jurca et al., 2005) based on age, sex, body mass index, resting heart rate, and self-reported physical activity level. Analyses indicated that all three measures of CRF were significantly correlated with one another. In addition, measures of cognitive function, hippocampus volume, and memory complaints were significantly correlated with each measure of fitness. These findings have implications for using a low-risk, low-cost, non-exercise estimate of CRF in determining fitness associations with brain structure and cognitive function in older adults. As such, this measure may have utility for larger population based studies. Further validation is required, as is determination of whether such relationships hold over the course of exercise interventions.
Equation-derived CRF; cognitive function; hippocampus; older adults
This study examined the possibility of a linear, inverse association between physical activity and the number of self-reported cardiovascular comorbidities in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The sample included 561 persons with MS who completed demographic, cardiovascular comorbidity, disability status, and physical activity self-report assessments, and then wore an accelerometer for 7 days. The data were analyzed using bivariate correlation and multiple linear regression analyses.
Bivariate correlation analysis indicated that there were statistically significant, inverse associations between the number of self-reported cardiovascular comorbidities and objectively measured (r = −0.192, p = 0.0001) and self-reported (r = −0.151, p = 0.0001) physical activity. The first multiple linear regression indicated that objectively measured physical activity was significantly associated with the number of self-reported cardiovascular comorbidities (B = −0.003, SE B = 0.001, β = −0.128), even after controlling for confounding variables. The second multiple linear regression indicated that self-reported physical activity, too, was significantly associated with the number of self-reported cardiovascular comorbidities (B = −0.011, SE B = 0.004, β = −0.114), even after controlling for confounding variables.
Physical activity was associated with the number of self-reported cardiovascular comorbidities, independent of disability status and other possible confounding variables, in persons with MS.
Cardiovascular comorbidities; Multiple sclerosis; Physical activity
Research has shown that aging is associated with increased systemic inflammation as well as a reduction in the strength of immune responses. However, little evidence exists linking the decrease in cell-mediated immunity in older adults with other health parameters. We sought to examine the relationship between cell-mediated immunity as measured in vivo by the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to candida antigen and demographic and physiological variables in older (65–80 y.o.) adults. Candida antigen response was not related to gender or obesity, or to a number of other physiological variables including fitness and body composition. However, positive responders had significantly lower serum C-reactive protein levels (CRP, p<0.05) vs. non-responders. Furthermore, subjects with CRP<4.75 mg•L−1 had greater odds of developing a positive response compared to those with CRP>4.75 mg•L−1. Therefore, positive responses to candida antigen in older adults appears to be related to lower levels of systemic inflammation.
Relations between a modifiable psychosocial factor, self-efficacy (SE), and behavioral and neural indices of self-regulation, including post-error behavior, the error-related negativity (ERN), and error positivity (Pe) were examined in young adults during a flanker task emphasizing either accuracy or speed. SE was predicted to be associated with larger ERN and Pe amplitudes, as well as greater post-error behavioral performance during task conditions emphasizing accuracy, but not speed. Results showed that higher SE was associated with greater post-error response accuracy during the accuracy condition, but not the speed condition, and higher SE was related with greater ERN amplitudes across instruction conditions. Further, ERN amplitude mediated the relationship between SE and post-error response accuracy in the accuracy condition. These findings emphasize the role of motivation and incentive on the self-regulatory system and suggest that SE is beneficially related to self-regulatory processes and outcomes.
Self-efficacy (SE); Self-regulation; Error-Related Negativity (ERN); Event-Related Brain Potentials (ERPs)
Our study aims were to describe physical activity patterns and associations with fatigue and depressive symptoms among rural breast cancer survivors.
Population-based, mailed survey of 483 rural breast cancer survivors including the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).
With regard to type and intensity, domestic/gardening and moderate intensity accounted for the largest percentage of total energy expenditure (i.e., 60% and 69%, respectively). MET-mins/week variables were categorized as 0, > 0 to < 500, and ≥ 500 to reflect sedentary, insufficient, and meets current public health recommendations. After adjustment, fatigue was significantly associated with domestic/gardening (mean fatigue for sedentary, insufficient, and meets recommendations were 18.9, 16.4, and 13.4, respectively; p=.0019), leisure activity (means were 16.0, 14.5, and 11.8, respectively; p=.047), moderate intensity (means were 18.4, 16.7, and 13.7, respectively; p=.011), and daily minutes sitting (means for ≤ 120 min, > 120 to ≤ 360 min, and > 360 min of sitting were 12.5, 14.2, and 17.2, respectively; p=.0029). Fatigue was not associated with occupational, transportation, walking, or vigorous activity. After adjustment, only leisure activity was associated with depressive symptoms (means for sedentary, insufficient, and meets recommendations were 7.8, 7.7, and 6.2, respectively; p=.039).
Physical activity measurement tools that do not include domestic/gardening activities may underestimate physical activity in rural breast cancer populations. Physical activity associations with fatigue and depressive symptoms differed based on physical activity type and intensity suggesting hypotheses related to exercise effects on fatigue and depressive symptoms.
Exercise; Oncology; Correlate; Predictor; Depression
Aerobic exercise is a promising form of prevention for cognitive decline; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms by which exercise and fitness impacts the human brain. Several studies have postulated that increased regional brain volume and function are associated with aerobic fitness because of increased vascularization rather than increased neural tissue per se. We tested this position by examining the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels in the right frontal cortex using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NAA is a nervous system specific metabolite found predominantly in cell bodies of neurons. We reasoned that if aerobic fitness was predominantly influencing the vasculature of the brain, then NAA levels should not vary as a function of aerobic fitness. However, if aerobic fitness influences the number or viability of neurons, then higher aerobic fitness levels might be associated with greater concentrations of NAA. We examined NAA levels, aerobic fitness, and cognitive performance in 137 older adults without cognitive impairment. Consistent with the latter hypothesis, we found that higher aerobic fitness levels offset an age-related decline in NAA. Furthermore, NAA mediated an association between fitness and backward digit span performance, suggesting that neuronal viability as measured by NAA is important in understanding fitness-related cognitive enhancement. Since NAA is found exclusively in neural tissue, our results indicate that the effect of fitness on the human brain extends beyond vascularization; aerobic fitness is associated with neuronal viability in the frontal cortex of older adults.
Aging; brain; exercise; fitness; human; N-acetylaspartate; working memory
The purpose of this study was to validate the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) in a sample of older adults. Participants within two different exercise groups were assessed at two time points, 6 months apart. Group and longitudinal invariance was established for a novel, 8-item version of the PACES. The shortened, psychometrically sound measure provides researchers and practitioners an expedited and reliable instrument for assessing the enjoyment of physical activity.
The present study examined the symptom cluster of fatigue, pain, and depression as a correlate of reduced quality of life (QOL) in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The sample included 291 individuals with a definite diagnosis of MS who were enrolled in a 6-month longitudinal study of physical activity and QOL. The participants completed baseline measures of fatigue, depression, and pain and follow-up measures of QOL. Cluster analysis initially identified three sub-groups differing in experiences of fatigue, depression, and pain, and analysis of variance then indicated that the three sub-groups differed in QOL. The sub-group with lowest scores on all three symptoms had the highest QOL, whereas the sub-group with the highest scores on the symptoms had the worst QOL. Such findings provide preliminary support for fatigue, pain, and depression as a symptom cluster that correlates with reduced QOL in persons with MS.
This study examined the determinants of attaining/not attaining 10 000 steps per day among older women. Methods: Daily step counts over 7 days were measured using accelerometry. Self-reported environmental characteristics, self-efficacy, social support and functional limitations were assessed in 128 older women. The presence of areas for activity within 1 km of each participant's residence was assessed using Geographic Information Systems. Multivariate analysis of variances were used to examine the degree to which these groups differed on measured constructs, and discriminant analysis was used to determine the profiles that discriminate among those who did not attain 10 000 steps per day and those who did. Results: Participants who did not attain 10 000 steps per day reported lower self-efficacy (P < 0.05), greater functional limitations (P < 0.05), had significantly fewer walking paths (P < 0.05) within 1 km of their home and reported significantly less street connectivity (P < 0.05) and safety from traffic (P < 0.05) than those who achieved 10 000 steps per day. Conclusion: Lack of perceived and actual environmental supports for walking, more functional limitations and lower self-efficacy are barriers to achieving 10 000 steps per day. The absence of these individual and environmental characteristics inhibits walking behavior in older women and should be considered in campaigns to promote a physically active lifestyle.
Deterioration of the hippocampus occurs in elderly individuals with and without dementia, yet individual variation exists in the degree and rate of hippocampal decay. Determining the factors that influence individual variation in the magnitude and rate of hippocampal decay may help promote lifestyle changes that prevent such deterioration from taking place. Aerobic fitness and exercise are effective at preventing cortical decay and cognitive impairment in older adults and epidemiological studies suggest that physical activity can reduce the risk for developing dementia. However, the relationship between aerobic fitness and hippocampal volume in elderly humans is unknown. In this study, we investigated whether individuals with higher levels of aerobic fitness displayed greater volume of the hippocampus and better spatial memory performance than individuals with lower fitness levels. Furthermore, in exploratory analyses, we assessed whether hippocampal volume mediated the relationship between fitness and spatial memory. Using a region-of-interest analysis on magnetic resonance images in 165 nondemented older adults, we found a triple association such that higher fitness levels were associated with larger left and right hippocampi after controlling for age, sex, and years of education, and larger hippocampi and higher fitness levels were correlated with better spatial memory performance. Furthermore, we demonstrated that hippocampal volume partially mediated the relationship between higher fitness levels and enhanced spatial memory. Our results clearly indicate that higher levels of aerobic fitness are associated with increased hippocampal volume in older humans, which translates to better memory function.
aging; MRI; spatial memory; cognition; brain
To examine the role of self-efficacy and depression as potential pathways from physical activity to fatigue in two study samples: breast cancer survivors (BCS; N=192) and individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS; N=292).
We hypothesized that physical activity would be indirectly associated with fatigue through its influence on self-efficacy and depressive symptomatology. A cross-sectional path analysis (BCS) and a longitudinal panel model (MS) were conducted within a covariance modeling framework.
Physical activity had a direct effect on self-efficacy, and in turn, self-efficacy had both a direct effect on fatigue and an indirect effect through depressive symptomatology in both samples. In the MS sample, physical activity also had a direct effect on fatigue. All model fit indices were excellent. These associations remained significant when controlling for demographics and health status indicators.
Our findings suggest support for at least one set of psychosocial pathways from physical activity to fatigue, an important concern in chronic disease. Subsequent work might replicate such associations in other diseased populations and attempt to determine whether model relations change with physical activity interventions, and the extent to which other known correlates of fatigue such as impaired sleep and inflammation can be incorporated into this model.
Breast Cancer; Multiple Sclerosis; Self-Efficacy; Physical Activity; Depression; Fatigue