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Associations Between Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Adiposity, and White Matter Integrity

Lesnovskaya, Alina (2020) Associations Between Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Adiposity, and White Matter Integrity. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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White matter (WM) is essential for transmitting neural signal between brain regions, and supporting healthy brain aging and cognitive function. Risk for WM deterioration is heightened in overweight and obesity, whereas increasing cardiorespiratory fitness may promote WM integrity. However, there is a lack of research comparing adiposity and cardiorespiratory fitness with WM. Further, it is not clear whether increasing cardiorespiratory fitness may outweigh the influence of excess adiposity on WM integrity in middle adulthood. In a sample of adults with overweight and obesity, we examined whether cardiorespiratory fitness and adiposity associate with WM integrity, both independently and jointly. We assessed WM pathways sensitive to cardiorespiratory fitness, adiposity, or both, and tested potential interactions. Baseline data from 125 middle-aged participants (Mage = 44.33 ± 8.60), with overweight or obesity (MBMI = 32.45 ± 4.19), were included in the study. Fitness was assessed via a submaximal graded exercise test. To quantify adiposity, whole body estimates of body fat % were calculated using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Diffusion weighted images were acquired during an MRI protocol. We conducted whole-brain voxelwise analyses using the FMRIB’s Software Library randomise function to examine main effects of adiposity and fitness, as well as the interaction term, on WM integrity. After controlling for age, gender, and years of education, there were no significant main effects of adiposity or cardiorespiratory fitness on FA (all p > .05). There was a significant interaction (p = .03) such that with higher fitness levels, greater adiposity was associated with higher WM integrity, whereas with lower fitness levels greater adiposity was negatively associated with WM integrity. This pattern of findings was unexpected, and may be a function of the unique nature of the sample or related to the confounding effects of WM lesions or local inflammation. Future work may focus on accounting for the influence of WM lesions, and extending the analysis to older adults and patient populations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lesnovskaya, Alinalesnovskaya@pitt.eduall1850000-0003-0406-4661
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairErickson, Kirkkiericks@pitt.edu0000-0001-8736-981X
Committee MemberManuck, Stephenmanuck@pitt.edu0000-0003-0484-7324
Committee MemberInagaki, Tristeninagaki@pitt.edu0000-0002-8825-2637
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 January 2020
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 17 July 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 62
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: exercise, neurodegeneration, midlife
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 16:00
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2020 16:00


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