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Habitual exercise influences carotid artery strain and strain rate, but not cognitive function in healthy middle-aged females

Campbell, Amy K ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3711-3896, Beaumont, Alexander J ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5773-6356, Hayes, Lawrence, Herbert, Peter, Gardner, David, Ritchie, Louise and Sculthorpe, Nicholas (2023) Habitual exercise influences carotid artery strain and strain rate, but not cognitive function in healthy middle-aged females. European Journal of Applied Physiology.

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Purpose: Ageing females are at risk of declining vascular and cognitive function. Exercise can augment both factors independently, however, the influence of exercise on their interdependence is less clearly understood. Ultrasound speckle-tracking is a sensitive novel measure of arterial ageing but has not previously been used in middle-aged females. We aimed to elucidate the potential interactions between vascular and cognitive variables in active ageing females.

Methods: Twelve active (56±5 years; 〖V ̇O〗_2peak: 34.5±6.1 ml.kg.min-1) and 13 inactive (57±4 years; 22.8±2.6 ml.kg.min-1) healthy middle-aged females were included. Ultrasound speckle-tracking assessed short-axis common carotid artery (CCA) compliance via peak circumferential strain (PCS) and strain rate (PSR) at rest, during, and after 3-minute isometric hand-grip exercise. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery was assessed using ultrasound. Cognitive function was measured using Verbal Fluency, Trail Making, Stroop, and Digit Span tests.

Results: PCS (P = 0.003) and PSR (P = 0.004), were higher in the active cohort. FMD was similar between groups (P > 0.05). Minimal differences in cognitive function existed between groups, although the inactive group performed better in one test of animal Verbal Fluency (P < 0.01). No associations were observed between PCS, PSR, or FMD with cognitive function (all P > 0.05).

Conclusion: This is the first study to assess PCS and PSR in middle-aged females and demonstrates that active middle-aged females exhibit a superior carotid artery profile compared to their inactive counterparts. However, PCS and PSR of the carotid artery may not be linked with cognitive function in middle-aged females.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-022-05123-x
Subjects: Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Q Science > QP Physiology
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7240

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