AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology Podcasts

Exercise and Cerebrovascular Function

November 22, 2021

It is well known that exercise can have beneficial effects on brain health, including reducing the risk of dementia and stroke. Does resistance exercise training affect brain blood flow and cerebrovascular physiology differently than endurance exercise? Guest Host Brady Holmer (University of Florida) interviews first author Hannah Thomas (The University of Western Australia) and expert Timo Klein (University of Rostock) about the latest research by Thomas and co-authors which directly compared adaptations in the brain and cerebrovascular function to these two different exercise modalities. Using a randomized cross-over study design to directly compare participant responses to resistance exercise and endurance exercise, young healthy individuals completed 3 months of resistance training 3 times per week, followed by 3 months of endurance training 3 times per week. To develop a comprehensive picture of adaptations occurring in the cerebrovasculature of the study participants, Thomas and collaborators measured middle and posterior cerebral arteries using transcranial Doppler ultrasound to determine blood velocity. In addition, Thomas et al. measured internal carotid and vertebral arteries using duplex ultrasound to assess both diameter and blood flow velocity. What changes in cerebrovascular function did Thomas et al. find in response to resistance training that were not found in response to endurance training? Could these findings lead to possible clinical applications of exercise as preventative therapy for aging, cognitive impairment, and cerebrovascular dysfunction related to dementia? Listen now.


Hannah J. Thomas, Channa E. Marsh, Louise H. Naylor, Philip N. Ainslie, Kurt J. Smith, Howard H. Carter, and Daniel J. Green Resistance, but not endurance exercise training, induces changes in cerebrovascular function in healthy young subjects Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published October 11, 2021. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00230.2021

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