Mid-life and late life activities and their relationship with MRI measures of brain structure and functional connectivity in the UK Biobank cohort
Anatürk, M., Suri, S., Smith, S. M., Ebmeier, K. P., & Sexton, C. E. (2020). bioRxiv.
INTRODUCTION This study aimed to evaluate whether mid-life and late life participation in leisure activities is linked to measures of brain structure, functional connectivity and cognition in early old age.
METHODS We examined data collected from 7,152 participants of the UK Biobank study. Weekly participation in six leisure activities was assessed twice. A cognitive battery and 3T MRI brain scan were administered at the second visit.
RESULTS Weekly computer use at mid-life associated with larger volumes of the left putamen and higher scores for fluid intelligence, alphanumeric and numeric trail making tasks and prospective memory. Frequent attendance at a sports club or gym at mid-life was associated with stronger connectivity of the sensorimotor network with the lateral visual and cerebellar networks. No other associations were significant.
DISCUSSION This study demonstrates that not all leisure activities contribute to cognitive health equally, nor is there one unifying neural signature across leisure activities.