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

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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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2015-05