Poster Session B, Sunday, March 24, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Integrative Functional Network Interactions Underlie the Association between Physical Activity and Cognition in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Chia-Hao Shih1, Miriam Sklerov1, Nina Browner1, Eran Dayan1; 1University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Physical activity (PA) has preventive and possibly restorative effects in aging-related cognitive decline. These effects can be captured by markers of brain health such as functional connectivity (FC) in large-scale association networks. Preventive and restorative effects of PA have also been documented in relation to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the neural substrates that mediate the association between PA and cognitive performance in neurodegenerative diseases remain unknown. Here we set out to examine if the association between PA and cognitive performance in PD is mediated by FC in large-scale association networks. Data from 51 PD patients were analyzed. Connectome-level analysis based on a whole-brain parcellation showed that self-reported levels of PA were associated with increased FC between, but not within the default mode (DMN) and salience networks (p < .05, false discovery rate corrected). These PA-related network connections were significant predictors of global cognitive performance as assessed with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scale. Multiple parallel mediation analysis then demonstrated that FC between left lateral parietal nodes in the DMN and rostral prefrontal nodes in the salience network mediated the association between PA and MoCA scores. These preliminary findings are in line with previous studies linking FC in large-scale association networks with the effects of PA on cognition in healthy aging. Our results extend these previous studies by suggesting that the association between PA and cognitive performance in neurodegenerative diseases is mediated by integrative functional interactions in large-scale association networks.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging