Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



The incidence of cognitive impairment in the aging population remains one of the most common morbidities in the elderly, often associated with a decrease in physical function, institutionalization, and death. Several different mechanisms have been proposed, including age-related changes to the vasculature. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between physical activity, carotid intima-media thickness and other vascular measures, and measures of cognitive and physical function in older adults. Measures of daily physical activity, vascular structure and function, and cognitive and physical function were examined in 109 participants [age=81±11 yrs]. Daily physical activity was assessed using the Yale Activity Index (YAI) and by calculating total daily energy (TDEE) using the doubly labeled water technique. Vascular structure was assessed using carotid-intima media thickness (CIMT), while cognitive function and physical function were assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the CSPFP-10, respectively. The average YAI score was 37.75±22.78, TDEE was 2133.02±585.68 kcal/d, CIMT was 0.91±0.06 mm, MMSE score 28.17 , and total CSPFP-10 score 42±20. A unique finding was the relationship between daily physical activity levels, vascular measures, and measures of cognitive and physical function, suggesting that those with higher levels of daily physical activity exhibit more favorable vascular, cognitive, and physical measures. In addition, more favorable measures of cognitive and physical function may be due in part to preserved vascular health. In conclusion, the findings of this study strongly suggest that maintaining a more physically active lifestyle may result in physiological changes, and yield vascular, cognitive, and physical functional benefits.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael Welsch

Included in

Kinesiology Commons