Is physical fitness good for the head?

German researchers find connection between cardiorespiratory performance and brain size

Greifswald/Germany, January 24th, 2020. Does physical fitness promote brain health? Evidence for this hypothesis - although no clear proof - comes from a new study published in the “Mayo Clinic Proceedings”. Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University Medicine Greifswald analyzed data from 2,103 individuals aged between 21 and 84 years finding a positive association between physical fitness and brain size. This concerned both total brain volume and brain areas involved in memory and emotional and reward-related behavior. The study results are based on the measurement of cardiorespiratory performance on an exercise bike and brain data acquired by magnetic resonance imaging.

For more Information please refer to our German press release.


On the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)

The DZNE investigates all aspects of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in order to develop novel approaches of prevention, treatment, and health care. The DZNE is comprised of ten sites across Germany and cooperates closely with universities, university hospitals, and other institutions on a national and international level.

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Dr. Marcus Neitzert
 +49 228 43302-267

Original publication

Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Gray Matter Volume in the Temporal, Frontal, and Cerebellar Regions in the General Population.
Katharina Wittfeld et al.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2020).
DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.05.030


Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Brain Volumes
Ronald C. Petersen et al.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2020).
DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.11.011

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