Neural correlates of exercise training in individuals with schizophrenia and in healthy individuals: A systematic review

E. C. D. van der Stouwe*, J. T. van Busschbach, B. de Vries, W. Cahn, A. Aleman, G. H. M. Pijnenborg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

A body of evidence has revealed positive effects of physical exercise on behavioral, cognitive and physical outcomes in patients with schizophrenia. Notably, the effect of exercise at the neural level may be particularly relevant as well as it is hypothesized that exercise may stimulate the brain in a way that might normalize neural alterations related to the disorder. The aim of the current systematic review was to provide an up to date overview of studies investigating the neural effects of exercise in individuals with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder and healthy individuals. The majority of included studies focused on hippocampal effects, reporting beneficial effects of exercise. In addition, in schizophrenia increased extrastriate body area (EBA) activation and increased white matter fiber integrity in tracts relevant to the disorder were found and in healthy individuals decreased connectivity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) indicating greater cognitive efficiency was reported. Comparing individuals with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder and healthy individuals within a similar age range, most studies found similar effects on hippocampal volume and white matter tracts for both groups, although the effect in schizophrenia spectrum disorders may be attenuated which is in line with previous literature on brain plasticity. The current review indicates a lack of studies investigating neural correlates other than the hippocampus. Although those studies that did focus on other neural correlates revealed promising results, these have not been replicated in other studies and call for replication. Furthermore, future studies should expand their focus, by investigating neural mechanisms underlying positive effects of physical exercise on positive symptoms, negative symptoms and symptoms such as depression, social withdrawal and social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-301
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroImage. Clinical
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Hippocampus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Neuroimaging
  • Physical activity
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorder
  • MULTIDISCIPLINARY CARE APPROACH
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • AEROBIC EXERCISE
  • PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY
  • HIPPOCAMPAL VOLUME
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS
  • EARLY PSYCHOSIS
  • METAANALYSIS
  • PEOPLE

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