The effect of aerobic exercise on cortical architecture in patients with chronic schizophrenia: a randomized controlled MRI study

  • Peter Falkai
  • Berend Malchow
  • Thomas Wobrock
  • Oliver Gruber
  • Andrea Schmitt
  • William G. Honer
  • Frank-Gerald Pajonk
  • Frank Sun
  • Tyrone D. Cannon
Original Paper


Via influencing brain plasticity, aerobic exercise could contribute to the treatment of schizophrenia patients. As previously shown, physical exercise increases hippocampus volume and improves short-term memory. We now investigated gray matter density and brain surface expansion in this sample using MRI-based cortical pattern matching methods. Comparing schizophrenia patients to healthy controls before and after 3 months of aerobic exercise training (cycling) plus patients playing table football yielded gray matter density increases in the right frontal and occipital cortex merely in healthy controls. However, respective exercise effects might be attenuated in chronic schizophrenia, which should be verified in a larger sample.


Schizophrenia Physical exercise MRI Cortex Gray matter Surface expansion 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Falkai
    • 1
  • Berend Malchow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas Wobrock
    • 2
    • 3
  • Oliver Gruber
    • 2
  • Andrea Schmitt
    • 1
  • William G. Honer
    • 4
  • Frank-Gerald Pajonk
    • 1
  • Frank Sun
    • 5
  • Tyrone D. Cannon
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyLudwig-Maximilians-University MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Center of Mental HealthCounty Hospitals Darmstadt-DieburgGroß-UmstadtGermany
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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