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MPA Associated with Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Adults

Key Message

People at risk for Alzheimer's disease who do more moderate-intensity physical activity, but not light-intensity physical activity, are more likely to have healthy patterns of glucose metabolism in their brain.


Dougherty, Ryan et al. (2017). Moderate Physical Activity is Associated with Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Adults at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 58(4):1089-1097. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-161067


The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between accelerometer-measured physical activity (PA) and glucose metabolism in asymptomatic late-middle-aged adults. 


Ninety-three cognitively healthy late-middle-aged adults from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention underwent 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging and wore an accelerometer (ActiGraph GT3X+) to measure free-living PA. Accelerometer data yielded measures of light (LPA), moderate (MPA), and vigorous (VPA) intensity PA. FDG-PET images were scaled to the cerebellum and pons, and cerebral glucose metabolic rate was extracted from specific regions of interest (ROIs) known to be hypometabolic in AD, i.e., hippocampus, posterior cingulate, inferior temporal cortex, and angular gyrus. Regression analyses were utilized to examine the association between PA and glucose metabolism, while adjusting for potential confounds.

There were associations between MPA and glucose metabolism in all ROIs examined. In contrast, LPA was not associated with glucose uptake in any ROI and VPA was only associated with hippocampal FDG uptake. Secondary analyses did not reveal associations between sedentary time and glucose metabolism in any of the ROIs. Exploratory voxel-wise analysis identified additional regions where MPA was significantly associated with glucose metabolism including the precuneus, supramarginal gyrus, amygdala, and middle frontal gyrus.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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