Dr. Alan Gow of the University of Edinburgh and psychologists and Neuroimaging experts said greater brain shrinkage is linked to problems with memory and thinking, and the researchers said their findings suggest exercise is potentially one important pathway to maintaining a healthy brain both in terms of size and reducing damage.
The Edinburgh team used magnetic resonance imaging scans to measure the volume of brain tissue and the volume and health of the brain's white matter in nearly 700 people who took part in mentally stimulating activities such reading and participating in social groups as well as exercising.
The results suggest to maintain brain health, physical activity might be more beneficial than choosing more sedentary activities, Gow said.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, found people age 70 and older who were more physically active had fewer "damaged" areas -- visible as abnormal areas on scanning -- in the white matter of the brain than those who did little exercise.
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