Presentation Title

Exercise and Pattern Separation: A High-Resolution Whole-Brain Investigation of Mnemonic Discrimination in Healthy Adults

Presenter Information

Cooper HodgesFollow

Presenter Status

PhD Student, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Presentation Abstract

Exercise and regular physical activity have been shown past associations with increased medial temporal lobe volume, increased neurogenesis in rodent models, and increased memory performance in human adults. However, no studies to the authors’ knowledge have examined the role of adherence to the American Heart Association’s guidelines for physical activity in promoting better memory performance. This present study sought to investigate whether adherence to AHA standards was associated with better performance during a mnemonic discrimination task, which has been used often in previous research to measure pattern separation, a memory process that seeks to reduce overlapping patterns in similar memory representations. 45 healthy, young adult subjects were recruited from the Provo, Utah area for one of three groups: a sedentary group, a low exercise group, and a high exercise group (that adhered to all AHA standards for physical activity). All subjects were given exercise logs and an accelerometer to wear for one week. After this period, subjects underwent a functional MRI scan while completing a mnemonic discrimination task. Results indicate exercise group membership does not play a significant role in pattern separation performance. Neuroimaging results support the role of the hippocampus and hippocampal subregions in pattern separation, as well as pattern completion. Implications for future research are discussed.

Biographical Sketch

Cooper Hodges is a graduate student in cognitive neuroscience studying at Brigham Young University under Dr. Brock Kirwan. He did his undergraduate degree at Andrews University, studying self-determination and motivational processes in young adults. Currently, his research interests include the impact of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder on neural function, as well as how memory processes function in healthy, normally functioning adults.

Acknowledgements

This study was funded in part by a High Impact Doctoral Research Assistantship, awarded by Graduate Studies at Brigham Young University, and by a Brigham Young University MRI Research Facility Seed Grant.

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Exercise and Pattern Separation: A High-Resolution Whole-Brain Investigation of Mnemonic Discrimination in Healthy Adults

Exercise and regular physical activity have been shown past associations with increased medial temporal lobe volume, increased neurogenesis in rodent models, and increased memory performance in human adults. However, no studies to the authors’ knowledge have examined the role of adherence to the American Heart Association’s guidelines for physical activity in promoting better memory performance. This present study sought to investigate whether adherence to AHA standards was associated with better performance during a mnemonic discrimination task, which has been used often in previous research to measure pattern separation, a memory process that seeks to reduce overlapping patterns in similar memory representations. 45 healthy, young adult subjects were recruited from the Provo, Utah area for one of three groups: a sedentary group, a low exercise group, and a high exercise group (that adhered to all AHA standards for physical activity). All subjects were given exercise logs and an accelerometer to wear for one week. After this period, subjects underwent a functional MRI scan while completing a mnemonic discrimination task. Results indicate exercise group membership does not play a significant role in pattern separation performance. Neuroimaging results support the role of the hippocampus and hippocampal subregions in pattern separation, as well as pattern completion. Implications for future research are discussed.