Using sulcal and gyral measures of brain structure to investigate benefits of an active lifestyle

Ashley J. Lamont, Moyra E. Mortby, Kaarin J. Anstey, Perminder S. Sachdev, Nicolas Cherbuin*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Physical activity is associated with brain and cognitive health in ageing. Higher levels of physical activity are linked to larger cerebral volumes, lower rates of atrophy, better cognitive function and a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Neuroimaging studies have traditionally focused on volumetric brain tissue measures to test associations between factors of interest (e.g. physical activity) and brain structure. However, cortical sulci may provide additional information to these more standard measures. Method: Associations between physical activity, brain structure, and cognition were investigated in a large, community-based sample of cognitively healthy individuals (N=317) using both sulcal and volumetric measures. Results: Physical activity was associated with narrower width of the Left Superior Frontal Sulcus and the Right Central Sulcus, while volumetric measures showed no association with physical activity. In addition, Left Superior Frontal sulcal width was associated with processing speed and executive function. Discussion: These findings suggest sulcal measures may be a sensitive index of physical activity related to cerebral health and cognitive function in healthy older individuals. Further research is required to confirm these findings and to examine how sulcal measures may be most effectively used in neuroimaging.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-359
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


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