Physical Activity, Nutrition, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Short-Time Synaptic Plasticity in Healthy Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study
de Bruin, Eling D.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The aging brain undergoes remodeling processes because of biological and environmental factors. To counteract brain aging, neuronal plasticity should be preserved. The aim of this study was to test if the capacity of generating short-time synaptic plasticity in older adults may be related to either physical activity, nutritional status, cognition, or neurophysiological activity. Thirty-six participants (mean age 73.3 ± 5.9 years) received transcranial magnetic stimulation in combination with peripheral nerve stimulation to experimentally induce short-time synaptic plasticity by paired associative stimulation (PAS). Adaptations in neuronal excitability were assessed by motor-evoked potential (MEP) in the right m. tibialis anterior before and after PAS. The Physical Activity Questionnaire 50+ and the StepWatchTM captured physical activity levels. Nutritional status was assessed by the Mini Nutritional Assessment. Cognition was assessed by reaction time for a divided attention test and with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. Neurophysiological activity was assessed by electroencephalography during the divided attention test. MEPs of the highest stimulation intensity resulted significantly different comparing before, 5 min, or 30 min after PAS (p < 0.05). Data-driven automatic hierarchical classification of the individual recruitment curve slopes over the three-time points indicated four different response types, however, response groups did not significantly differ based on physical activity, nutritional status, cognition, or neurophysiological activity. In a second-level analysis, participants having an increased slope showed a significant higher energy expenditure (z = -2.165, p = 0.030, r = 0.36) and revealed a significant higher power activity in the alpha frequency band (z = -2.008, p = 0.046, r = 0.37) at the prefrontal-located EEG electrodes, compared to the participants having a decreased slope. This study hints toward older adults differing in their neuronal excitability which is strongly associated to their short-time synaptic plasticity levels. Furthermore, a physically active lifestyle and higher EEG power in the alpha frequency band seem to be connected to the capacity of generating long-term potentiation-like synaptic plasticity in older adults. Future studies should consider more sensitive assessments and bigger sample sizes to get a broad scope of the older adults’ population Show more
Journal / seriesFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Pages / Article No.
PublisherFrontiers Research Foundation
Subjectolder adults; synaptic plasticity; physical activity; nutrition; cognition; paired associative stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation; neurophysiology
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