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Contributing to a meta-analysis on the effects of acute physical exercise on the executive functions of preadolescent children, adolescents and adults

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The purpose of this study, originally, was to contribute to the completion of a meta-analysis conducted by Mara Wierstra from the University of Virginia. Wierstra had requested individual participant data from two separate studies conducted in our lab: "Acute bouts

The purpose of this study, originally, was to contribute to the completion of a meta-analysis conducted by Mara Wierstra from the University of Virginia. Wierstra had requested individual participant data from two separate studies conducted in our lab: "Acute bouts of assisted cycling improves cognitive and upper extremity movement functions in adolescents with Down syndrome" and "Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT) improves inhibition in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder." From the data requested, the participants were required to complete three separate tests (i.e., Tower of London, Trail Making Task and the Stroop Test). After compiling the data and sending it to her, we decided to conduct a small meta-analysis of our own, drawing connecting conclusions from the data from the two studies. We concluded that observationally our data suggest an advantage for ACT over voluntary cycling and no cycling across two separate populations (i.e., Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down syndrome), and across different measures of executive function (i.e., Stroop Test, Trail Making Test, and Tower of London). The data suggest that the ACT interventions may promote the upregulation of neurotropic factors leading to neurogenesis in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

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2016-12

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Assisted Cycling Therapy Improves Cognitive Planning in Adolescents with Down Syndrome

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This study examines cognitive planning in adolescents with Down syndrome (DS) following an 8-week assisted cycling therapy intervention. Forty-three participants were randomly assigned to assisted cycling (AC) (i.e., at least 30% faster than self-selected cadence accomplished by a motor), voluntary

This study examines cognitive planning in adolescents with Down syndrome (DS) following an 8-week assisted cycling therapy intervention. Forty-three participants were randomly assigned to assisted cycling (AC) (i.e., at least 30% faster than self-selected cadence accomplished by a motor), voluntary cycling (VC) (self-selected cadence), and no cycling (NC) control group. Both AC and VC rode a stationary bicycle three times/week, 30 minutes/session, for eight weeks in duration. Participants completed cognitive testing that assessed cognitive planning at the beginning (i.e., pretest) and end (i.e., posttest) of the 8-week intervention. Consistent with our hypothesis, the results showed that cognitive planning improved following eight weeks of cycling for the AC group. The same results were not seen for individuals in the VC or NC groups. Our results suggest that assisted cycling therapy may induce permanent changes in the prefrontal cortex in adolescents with DS.

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2015-05

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Effects of Assisted Cycle Therapy on Short Term and Working Memory in Adolescents with Down Syndrome

Description

To examine the effect of an 8-week cycling intervention on short term and working memory in adolescents with Down syndrome (DS), participants were divided into Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT), Voluntary Cycling (VC), or No Cycling (NC) groups. Forward and backward

To examine the effect of an 8-week cycling intervention on short term and working memory in adolescents with Down syndrome (DS), participants were divided into Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT), Voluntary Cycling (VC), or No Cycling (NC) groups. Forward and backward digit span assessments were administered prior to and after the intervention to evaluate short term and working memory respectively. 8 weeks of exercise via ACT showed a trend toward conventional levels of significance in the number of levels completed in the backward direction.

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Date Created
2015-05

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The Effect of Exercise Therapy on Cognitive Function in Adolescents with Down Syndrome

Description

This study examines the effect of exercise therapy on a stationary bike on cognitive function, specifically inhibition and set-switching, in adolescents with Down syndrome. 44 participants were randomly divided between the voluntary cycling therapy group (VCT) (i.e., self-selected cadence), assisted

This study examines the effect of exercise therapy on a stationary bike on cognitive function, specifically inhibition and set-switching, in adolescents with Down syndrome. 44 participants were randomly divided between the voluntary cycling therapy group (VCT) (i.e., self-selected cadence), assisted cycling therapy group (ACT) (i.e., 30% faster than self-selected cadence accomplished by a motor), and a control group (NC) in which the participants did not undergo any exercise therapy. Both cycling groups rode a stationary bicycle, for 30 minutes, three times a week, for eight-weeks. At the beginning (i.e., pretest) and end (i.e., posttest) of the eight-week session the participants completed tasks to evaluate their cognitive function. They completed three trials of the card sort test (i.e., set-switching) and three trials of the knock-tap test (i.e, inhibition) before and after eight-weeks of cycling therapy. The scores of these tests were analyzed using one-way ANOVA between groups and paired samples t-tests. The results showed that after eight-weeks of cycling therapy the participants in the VCT group performed worse in the knock-tap test, but improved in two trials of the card sort test. The results also showed that the participants in the ACT group performed worse after eight-weeks of exercise therapy in one trial of the card sort test. No significant changes were seen for the control group. Due to the fact that on average the participants in the VCT group cycled with a higher heart rate, our results suggest exercise that significantly elevates heart rate can improve cognitive function, specifically set-switching, in adolescents with Down syndrome.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Examination of One Month Retention of Executive Function in Assisted Cycling Therapy on Adolescents with Down Syndrome

Description

This study examines the one month retention of executive function benefits gained by adolescents with Down syndrome after an 8-week aerobic exercise intervention. Sixteen participants were randomly divided between voluntary (VC) (i.e., self-selected cadence) and assisted (AC) (i.e., 30% faster

This study examines the one month retention of executive function benefits gained by adolescents with Down syndrome after an 8-week aerobic exercise intervention. Sixteen participants were randomly divided between voluntary (VC) (i.e., self-selected cadence) and assisted (AC) (i.e., 30% faster than self-selected cadence accomplished by a motor) cycling groups, with one participant used as a control (NC). Both cycling groups rode a stationary bicycle, for 30 minutes, three times a week, for eight weeks. At the beginning (i.e., pretest) and end (posttest) of the 8-week session, three executive functions including: set-switching, inhibition, and cognitive planning, were tested. Approximately one month after the posttest, all participants underwent the cognitive testing again. The results showed that for the AC group cognitive planning improved after eight weeks of assisted cycling and these improvements were maintained after one month of no cycling. However, no significant differences were found between the cycling groups for our measure of inhibition. Set-switching appeared to be improved by both types of exercise, rather than only assisted, but the improvements were not maintained during the one month retention period for either group. Thus, our results suggest that Assisted Cycling causes potentially permanent changes in the brain in regards to cognitive planning.

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Date Created
2014-05