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A team of researchers from Duke followed over 1,000 children with tests of intelligence and cognitive functioning. As part of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, they were again tested in midlife at the age of 38 with cognitive and physical fitness testing. They found “no evidence for a neuroprotective effect of cardiorespiratory fitness as of midlife.” In other words, more physically fit individuals did not have better cognitive functioning than less fit individuals. However, “children with better cognitive functioning are selecting healthier lives.”
Belsky DW, Caspi A, Israel S, Blumenthal JA, Poulton R, & Moffitt TE (2015). Cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function in midlife: Neuroprotection or neuroselection? Annals of neurology PMID: 25601795
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