Mid-life and late life activities and their relationship with MRI measures of brain structure and functional connectivity in the UK Biobank cohort

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. AnatürkC. E. Sexton


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.

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