Cardiorespiratory fitness modifies the relationship between myocardial function and cerebral blood flow in older adults

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A growing body of evidence indicates that cardiorespiratory fitness attenuates some age-related cerebral declines. However, little is known about the role that myocardial function plays in this relationship. Brain regions with high resting metabolic rates, such as the default mode network (DMN), may be especially vulnerable to age-related declines in myocardial functions affecting cerebral blood flow (CBF). This study explored the relationship between a measure of myocardial mechanics, global longitudinal strain (GLS), and CBF to the DMN. In addition, we explored how cardiorespiratory affects this relationship. Participants were 30 older adults between the ages of 59 and 69 (mean age = 63.73 years, SD = 2.8). Results indicated that superior cardiorespiratory fitness and myocardial mechanics were positively associated with DMN CBF. Moreover, results of a mediation analysis revealed that the relationship between GLS and DMN CBF was accounted for by individual differences in fitness. Findings suggest that benefits of healthy heart function to brain function are modified by fitness.

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