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Investigating the effects of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and physical activity on executive functioning, short-term memory, long-term memory and learning in older adults

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Heather, MJ 2017 , 'Investigating the effects of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and physical activity on executive functioning, short-term memory, long-term memory and learning in older adults', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The decline of cognitive abilities with age is subject to much variability, and the factors that influence this are yet to be fully understood. This study aimed to explore the combined influence of physical activity (PA), and the BDNF gene on cognitive performance in older adults. Participants consisted of 140 female and 61 male (N = 201), healthy older adults, aged 53 – 81 years (M = 64.2, SD = 6.63). BDNF genotype was ascertained via genetic testing, and participants were categorized as either Val carriers or Met carriers. Participants were also grouped into high or low PA, as assessed with the self-report Incidental and Planned Exercise Questionnaire (IPEQ-WA). Cognitive performance was assessed via neuropsychological tests of executive functioning, short-term memory, long-term memory and learning. It was hypothesised that level of PA and BDNF genotype would have main effects on cognitive performance and that there would be an interaction between level of PA and BDNF genotype on cognitive outcome measures. However, contrary to our hypotheses, no significant main effects or interaction effects were observed between level of PA and the BDNF gene on any of the cognitive performance measures. These results suggest that, in a group of healthy older adults, level of PA and BDNF genotype are unrelated to cognitive performance.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Heather, MJ
Keywords: Physical Activity, Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor, BDNF Val66Met, Older Adult Cognition, Neuropsychological function
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Copyright 2017 the author

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