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The Effect of an Exercise Program for Adults with Down Syndrome (ExDS) on Balance

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Individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) are subject to a spectrum of behavioral, cognitive and physical impairments. This population is more predisposed to comorbidity and typically has an increased risk of inactivity resulting in a lower level of fitness. Previous studies

Individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) are subject to a spectrum of behavioral, cognitive and physical impairments. This population is more predisposed to comorbidity and typically has an increased risk of inactivity resulting in a lower level of fitness. Previous studies on physical activity have shown that routine exercise has similar health benefits for those with DS as those individuals without a disability and in turn progresses their balance ability. Due to limited exercise program opportunities and studies that intentionally investigate the benefits of specific modes of exercise on the DS population, a community-based Exercise Program for Adults with DS (ExDS) was created with the goal of improving their physical and mental health and measuring changes in their balance capabilities throughout the program. ExDS partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) students to create biweekly customized workouts, that followed exercise prescription guidelines, consisting of an aerobic warm-up, main aerobic exercise bout, resistance training, balance training, and stretching for each participant with DS. Participant dynamic and static balance ability was measured using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) during program pre- and post-assessments. The BBS composite score did not change and no significant improvement was seen in the p-values for each line item of the BBS from pre- to post-testing. For follow-up analyses, the participants with low treatment fidelity were removed. Follow-up analyses showed significant increases in BBS composite score and line item 13 from pre- to post-testing. Treatment fidelity was a limitation in this study and future studies should aim to increase fidelity and consistency of tester for pre- and post-testing. In conclusion, holistic exercise programming for adults with DS appears to benefit balance as long as treatment fidelity is high. It is unclear which mode of exercise had the greatest impact on changes in balance.

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2018-12

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Cellular Evaluation of Postnatal Hippocampus in Down Syndrome

Description

Down Syndrome (DS), caused by the trisomy 21, is the most common intellectual developmental disorder. Children with DS display deficits in ample memory tasks attributed to alterations in memory-related brain structures, including the hippocampus. Although, many studies in DS

Down Syndrome (DS), caused by the trisomy 21, is the most common intellectual developmental disorder. Children with DS display deficits in ample memory tasks attributed to alterations in memory-related brain structures, including the hippocampus. Although, many studies in DS focused on development of the brain during prenatal stages, little is known about the cellular evolution of the hippocampus in postnatal periods in DS. Therefore, here we examined the neurochemical spatiotemporal development of neuronal profiles in pediatric postnatal hippocampus in DS and neurotypical developing (NTD) controls. A quantitative and qualitative neuronal distribution was performed in hippocampal sections containing the proper hippocampus, dentate gyrus (DG) and subiculum obtained at autopsy from 1 day to 3 year-old infants in DS and NTD age-matched controls using antibodies against the non-phosphorylated high-molecular-weight neurofilament, a marker of differentiated neurons (SMI-32), the calcium binding protein calbindin D-28k (CAB), and the migration neuronal marker microtubule-associated protein doublecortin (DCX). In addition, Aβ and phosphorylated tau was also immunohistochemically examined in the hippocampus using 6E10, Aβ1-42 and the phosphorylated CP-13 and AT8 tau antibodies, respectively. We found APP/Aβ immunoreactivity, but not Aβ1-42, in diffuse-like plaques in the hippocampus from 1 day to 3 year old infants and young children in DS and NTD cases. By contrast, phosphorylated fetal tau was not immunodetected in the hippocampus at any age in both groups. SMI-32 immunolabeled neurons were observed in the hilus, CA2 field and subiculum in early postnatal cases in DS and NTD. The number of SMI-32 immunoreactive (ir) granule cells in the DG were significantly decreased in DS compared to NTD. While a strong DCX immunoreactivity was observed in the granule cells of the DG in the hippocampus in both groups at early postnatal stages, a more accelerated reduction was observed in DS. CAB-ir neuronal distribution in the postnatal hippocampus was comparable between the youngest and the oldest infants in NTD and DS. In addition, strong positive correlations were observed between DG-DCX-ir cells numbers and both DG-CAB-ir and DG-SMI-32-ir values as well as negative correlations between the brain weight and DG granule cell-ir numbers for all markers in DS. These findings suggest that neuronal maturation and migration in the hippocampus are compromised in early postnatal stages of the development in DS and may contribute to the intellectual disabilities observed in this group.

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2020-05

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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

Description

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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Date Created
2016-12

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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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How does rate influence brain activity during drumming in persons with Down Syndrome?

Description

Persons with Down Syndrome (DS) have been repeatedly shown to have timing deficits, to move slowly, and to not follow metronomes. This timing deficit in persons with DS requires further study because timing is fundamental to movement control. Furthermore, brain

Persons with Down Syndrome (DS) have been repeatedly shown to have timing deficits, to move slowly, and to not follow metronomes. This timing deficit in persons with DS requires further study because timing is fundamental to movement control. Furthermore, brain imaging studies have proposed a rate effect in which increased cortical activation in the primary motor cortex was observed during increased finger movement frequency. The aim of the current study was to determine if the rate effect was present in persons with DS by comparing brain activation in self-selected and as fast as possible rates. Eight participants with DS performed unimanual drumming at their self-selected and maximal rates. Movement rate was measured at EEG was collected in the alpha (8-12 Hz) and Beta (13-30 Hz) frequencies from C3 and C4. The results showed that overall, their self-selected rates were slower than their maximal rates, indicating that they are capable of modifying their movement rate with general instructions. Furthermore, there were significant differences in Beta in which there was more activation during as fast as possible than self-selected tapping in both sides of the primary motor cortex in persons with DS. This suggests that their brains are activated in a similar manner as the typical population with respect to movement rate. Overall, our results suggest that while interventions that involve timing to specific rates are difficult, people with DS can perform at self-selected and maximal rates. The results of our study show that they can alter movement rate when provided with general instruction or additional motivation.

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Date Created
2013-05

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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