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Effects of an acute bout of aerobic exercise on motor performance, executive function and intrinsic motivation in adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome

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The benefits of exercise have been recommended in typical and other special populations. However, the evidence for persons with Down syndrome (DS) is still limited. This study was aimed at

The benefits of exercise have been recommended in typical and other special populations. However, the evidence for persons with Down syndrome (DS) is still limited. This study was aimed at investigating the impact of an acute bout of aerobic exercise intervention on motor performance, executive function and intrinsic motivation in adolescents and young adults with DS. Ten participants with DS were assigned to an exercise group, who walked on a incremental treadmill protocol for 20 minutes. The exercise intensity was achieved at 66% of their predicted maximum heart rate. Another ten participants with DS were assigned to an attentional control group, who watched a video for 20 minutes. Measures of fine manual dexterity (e.g., Purdue Pegboard test), manual force production (e.g., grip strength test), processing speed (e.g., visual choice reaction time test), verbal processing (e.g., verbal fluency test), attention shifting ability (e.g., The Dimensional Card sorting test), and inhibitory control (e.g., Knock and Tap test) were tested pre and post intervention. An intrinsic motivation scale (e.g., enjoyment and effort) was conducted after the intervention. First, results showed participants significantly improved their performance in manual force production and Knock and Tap Test after the exercise intervention. While it has been proposed that exercise increases arousal status, neurotransmitters, or cerebral vasculature, the exact mechanisms in persons with DS are still unknown. However, our results showed that after treadmill walking, motor and cognitive improvements can be found in individuals with DS, even in a single exercise session. In addition, participants reported higher scores in enjoyment after video viewing than exercise, which may a result from musical effect or too much emphasis on external rewards in their early participation in exercise. These may imply that participants had low intrinsic motivation to an active lifestyle. Further, scores in effort were significantly higher after exercise than video viewing, which indicated their capabilities to perceive their physical exertion. However, other motivational regulations (e.g., introjected and identified regulations) have shown the relationship with exercise behavior in this population. Thus, further study should consider divergent motivational factors in order to implement an effective exercise program.

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  • 2013

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Genetic markers of a predisposition to lumbar disc degeneration in young adults

Description

Intervertebral Disc Degeneration (IVDD) is a complex phenomenon characterizing the desiccation and structural compromise of the primary joint in the human spine. The intervertebral disc (IVD) serves to connect vertebral

Intervertebral Disc Degeneration (IVDD) is a complex phenomenon characterizing the desiccation and structural compromise of the primary joint in the human spine. The intervertebral disc (IVD) serves to connect vertebral bodies, cushion shock, and allow for flexion and extension of the vertebral column. Often presenting in the 4th or 5th decades of life as low back pain, this disease was originally believed to be the result of natural “wear and tear” coupled with repetitive mechanical insult, and as such most studies focus on patients between 40 and 50 years of age. Research over the past two decades, however, has demonstrated that environmental factors have only a modest effect on disc degeneration, with genetic influences playing a much more substantial role. Extensive research has focused on this process, though definitive risk factors and a clear pathophysiology have proven elusive. The aim of this study was to assemble a cohort of patients exhibiting definitive signs of degeneration who were well below the average age of presentation, with minimal or no exposure to suspected environmental risk factors and to conduct a targeted genome analysis in an attempt to elucidate a common genetic component. Through whole genome sequencing and analysis, the results corroborated findings in a previous study, as well as demonstrated a potential connection and influence between mutations found in IVD structural or functional genes, and the provocation of IVDD. Though the sample size was limited in scale and age, these findings suggest that further IVDD research into the association of variants in collagen, aggrecan and the insulin-like growth factor receptor genes of young patients with an early presentation of disc degeneration and minimal exposure to suspected risk factors is merited.

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  • 2016

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Assessing the impact of oral vitamin B12 supplementation on vibration sensitivity, dexterity, and balance in young adult vegetarians and vegans

Description

Vitamin B12, found only in animal products, is a water-soluble vitamin important for DNA methylation, purine and pyrimidine synthesis, and the myelination of nerves. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12, found only in animal products, is a water-soluble vitamin important for DNA methylation, purine and pyrimidine synthesis, and the myelination of nerves. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, gait disturbances, altered vibration proprioception, impaired vision, psychosis, depression, dementia-like illness, and ultimately death. Because vegetarians and vegans consume fewer animal products in their diet than omnivores, they are inherently more at risk for developing these symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the correlation between nervous system markers (balance, dexterity, and vibration sensitivity) and markers of vitamin B12 nutriture (serum B12 and serum holo-transcobalamin II) in a cross-sectional study (n=38). In addition, the impact of daily oral vitamin B12 supplementation on these markers in an 8-week randomized controlled trial was also examined (n=18). The results of the cross-sectional study revealed a moderate correlation (R=-0.351, p=0.031) between serum B12 and left-hand functional dexterity. The results of the intervention study revealed no significant time*group interactions for markers of nervous system functions and biochemical values (after the removal of outliers). In addition, the time*group interaction appeared to be larger for those individuals with a baseline serum B12 of less than 303 pmol/L. These results suggest that vitamin B12 supplementation may have a more pronounced effect on those individuals who are in a state of vitamin B12 depletion (<303 pmol/L serum concentration). In addition, the results also suggest that 8 weeks of oral supplementation is not a long enough period to create significant clinical change, and it is likely that improvements in neurological measures would require long-term supplementation.

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  • 2016