Association of cardiorespiratory fitness and vascular risk on cognitive function in young adults

Jungyun Hwang, Darla M Castelli


The purpose of this study was to examine the interdependent associations between health indices [i.e. cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity, body mass index (BMI)], C-reactive protein (CRP) and cognitive function in young adults. It was hypothesized that a regression analysis would confirm direct effects of the health indices and CRP on cognitive function. Health indices including cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity level, BMI and CRP were collected to examine the relationship with cognitive function in healthy, young adults (n=93; 57.0% female, aged 23.01± 3.67 years). Cognitive function was assessed using neuropsychological test battery [i.e. Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, KBIT; Trail Making Test, (TMT); Stroop test; Psychomotor Vigilance Task, (PVT); and Dela ASSOCIATION OF CARDIORESPIRATORY FITNESS AND VASCULAR RISK  ON COGNITIVE FUNCTION IN YOUNG ADULTS yed-Matched-to-Sample memory task, (DMS)]. Lower cognitive function of inhibitory control in the Stroop test and working memory in the DMS were observed among high CRP risk (M = 5.65, SD ± 1.78) compared to the low CRP risk (M = 0.57, SD ± 0.19) participants. These results suggest that CRP level in the high-risk condition causes deleterious effect on cognitive function tasks requiring inhibitory control and working memory. In addition, CRP, which was positively associated with BMI, but negatively related to cardiorespiratory fitness, had negative effects on the working memory and the inhibitory control. As predicted, higher cardiorespiratory fitness was positively associated with greater inhibitory control and working memory. Our findings demonstrated that CRP level in the high-risk condition causes deleterious effect on cognitive function among tasks demanding inhibitory control and working memory. The beneficial effect of physical exercise-induced improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness on vascular risk and cognitive functions was significant; therefore, improved cardiorespiratory fitness may reduce or suppress vascular risk with potential positive effects on cognitive health.


cardiorespiratory fitness; C-reactive protein; cognitive function

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18103/mra.v0i3.209


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