Acute effects of exercise on cerebrovascular response and cognitive performance in individuals with stable coronary heart disease


Background Individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD) exhibit cognitive deficits and cerebrovascular dysfunctions, and are at higher risk of developing dementia. Cognitive function in individuals with CHD has never been studied during acute aerobic exercise. Given the increasing popularity of training at high peak power output (PPO), its impact on cerebrovascular and cognitive functions in individuals with CHD should be further studied. Method Thirty-eight individuals with CHD and 16 healthy controls completed two exercise bouts at 30% and 70% of their individualized PPO on an ergocycle while performing a cognitive task including non-executive and executive conditions. Variations of oxy- deoxy-hemoglobin, and total hemoglobin concentrations were measured on left prefrontal cortex at both PPO using near-infrared spectroscopy. Results Cognitive task performances were equivalent between groups at all intensity levels. Individuals with CHD exhibited larger variation of deoxyhemoglobin in the executive condition and larger variation in total hemoglobin concentration in all task conditions compared to healthy controls at 70% of PPO. Conclusion Exercising at high intensity seems to have a larger impact on cerebral blood volume in CHD patients compared to healthy age-matched controls. Higher exercise intensity has negative impacts on cerebral blood volume variations during a cognitive task in CHD patients and could potentially lead to other neurocognitive dysfunctions. Other studies are needed to determine if a cognitive task administered during an exercise test could help identify individuals with CHD at higher risk of developing cognitive decline.

Brain Research