Boston University researchers suggest that, regardless of gender, in kids who have greater aerobic fitness, they have greater volume of their entorhinal cortex—an area of the brain responsible for memory.

Better aerobic fitness does not appear to impact the volume of the hippocampus, however, according to a media release from Boston University Medical Center.

The study was published recently in the journal NeuroImage.

In the study, healthy young adults (ages 18-35 years) underwent a treadmill test to measure aerobic capacity. During this test, researchers from Boston University Medical Center measured the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the participants’ breath as they walked or ran on a treadmill. Participants then underwent magnetic resonance imaging and performed a recognition memory task. Entorhinal and hippocampal volume was determined using a method known as voxel-based morphometry and then regression analysis to examine whether recognition memory and aerobic fitness predicted brain volumes, the release explains.

“Our results suggest that aerobic exercise may have a positive effect on the medial temporal lobe memory system (which includes the entorhinal cortex) in healthy young adults. This suggests that exercise training, when designed to increase aerobic fitness, might have a positive effect on the brain in healthy young adults,” explains corresponding author and principal investigator Karin Schon, PhD, BUSM assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology, in the release.

The researchers point out in the release that unlike previous work done in older adults, in this young adult sample hippocampal volume does not show an association with aerobic fitness.

[Source(s): Boston University Medical Center, EurekAlert]