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Investigating Exercise-Induced Neuroplasticity and Its Mechanisms in Parkinson's Disease: Targeting Executive Function and Brain Circuitry

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[Technical Report, Annual Report]

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Parkinsons disease PD is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder of old age. A common problem in PD is cognitive impairment. There are no effective treatments. Impairment in executive function EF is the most common subtype of cognitive impairment and leads to challenges in daily function, including decision making, multi-tasking, and quality of life. Exercise studies in the aging field and preliminary studies in our PD animal work support the role of high intensity skill practice and high motor fitness in promoting greater EF performance compared to aerobic exercise, and cardiovascular fitness e.g.V02max. While a wide range of exercise modalities have shown to improve motor performance in PD patients, investigations of the relationship between exercise and EF in PD and mechanisms of neuroplasticity remain a significant gap in knowledge. This application will address this gap through complementary translational studies in humans and animals. The purpose of this18-month longitudinal clinical study is to examine the association between EF related cognitive performance and fitness levels, specifically cardiovascular and motor fitness, as well as exercise intensity. We hypothesize that high intensity regular exercise as well as High level of Motor fitness will be associated with greater level of cognitive EF performance over the 18-month period, than High levels of Cardiovascular Fitness or low intensity exercise. We also hypothesize that EF related brain circuity and connectivity will have a greater association with high level motor fitness than cardiovascular fitness and mediate the association between higher level of cognitive EF performance and motor fitness seen at 18 months.


Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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[A, Approved For Public Release]