EB: Aerobic Exercise Improves Cerebral Blood Flow

Three-month training program increases cerebral blood flow and VO2 max in elderly women

TUESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Aerobic training in elderly women increases cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the left and right internal carotid arteries, according to a study presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting, held from April 9 to 13 in Washington, D.C.

Rong Zang, M.D., from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and colleagues examined whether moderate exercise over a three-month period increased CBF in sedentary women aged 60 or older. An individualized training program was designed for eight women (average age 70) according to their fitness levels. Training started with thirty minutes of exercise at base pace heart rate three times a week, and increased to 50 minutes at base pace heart rate four times a week, plus two sessions of 30 minutes at maximal steady-state heart rate in the third month. Color Doppler and 2D ultrasonography were used to measure CBF in both the left and right internal carotid arteries.

The researchers found that, at the end of the training, CBF increased by 24 percent (P = 0.07) and 14 percent (P = 0.01) in the left and right internal carotid arteries, respectively, and VO2 max increased by 13 percent (P = 0.04). The participants' average blood pressure decreased by 4 percent (P = 0.05), which was correlated with a slight (5 percent; P = 0.06) decrease in the heart rate.

"These findings suggest that aerobic training improves brain perfusion in elderly women," the authors write.

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