(HealthDay News) – For preadolescent children, white matter structure varies with fitness level, according to a study published online August 19 in the Frontiers of Neuroscience.

Laura Chaddock-Heyman, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues examined white matter biomarkers related to aerobic fitness. Preadolescent 9- and 10-year-old children were recruited and underwent diffusion tensor imaging of the white matter. Of the 24 children included in analyses, 12 were considered higher fit and 12 were considered lower fit.

The researchers found that, compared with lower fit children, higher fit children showed greater fractional anisotropy (FA) in sections of the corpus callosum, corona radiata, and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Aerobic fitness differences in radial diffusivity were mainly responsible for the FA effects.

“White matter structure may be another potential neural mechanism of aerobic fitness that assists in efficient communication between gray matter regions as well as the integration of regions into networks,” the authors write.

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