[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dementia cases may reach 100 million by 2050. Interventions are sought to curb or prevent cognitive decline. Exercise yields cognitive benefits, but few older adults exercise. Virtual reality-enhanced exercise or "exergames" may elicit greater participation.
To test the following hypotheses: (1) stationary cycling with virtual reality tours ("cybercycle") will enhance executive function and clinical status more than traditional exercise; (2) exercise effort will explain improvement; and (3) brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) will increase.
Multi-site cluster randomized clinical trial (RCT) of the impact of 3 months of cybercycling versus traditional exercise, on cognitive function in older adults. Data were collected in 2008-2010; analyses were conducted in 2010-2011.
102 older adults from eight retirement communities enrolled; 79 were randomized and 63 completed.
A recumbent stationary ergometer was utilized; virtual reality tours and competitors were enabled on the cybercycle.
Executive function (Color Trails Difference, Stroop C, Digits Backward); clinical status (mild cognitive impairment; MCI); exercise effort/fitness; and plasma BDNF.
Intent-to-treat analyses, controlling for age, education, and cluster randomization, revealed a significant group X time interaction for composite executive function (p=0.002). Cybercycling yielded a medium effect over traditional exercise (d=0.50). Cybercyclists had a 23% relative risk reduction in clinical progression to MCI. Exercise effort and fitness were comparable, suggesting another underlying mechanism. A significant group X time interaction for BDNF (p=0.05) indicated enhanced neuroplasticity among cybercyclists.
Cybercycling older adults achieved better cognitive function than traditional exercisers, for the same effort, suggesting that simultaneous cognitive and physical exercise has greater potential for preventing cognitive decline.
This study is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01167400.
American journal of preventive medicine 02/2012; 42(2):109-19. DOI:10.1016/j.amepre.2011.10.016 · 4.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Grounded in social facilitation theory, this study compared the impact on exercise intensity of a virtual versus a live competitor, when riding a virtual reality-enhanced stationary bike ("cybercycle"). It was hypothesized that competitiveness would moderate effects. Twenty-three female college students were exposed to three conditions on a cybercycle: solo training, virtual competitor, and live competitor. After training without a competitor (solo condition for familiarization with equipment), participants competed against a virtual avatar or live rider (random order of presentation). A repeated-measures analysis revealed a significant condition (virtual/live) by competitiveness (high/low) interaction for exercise intensity (watts). More competitive participants exhibited significantly greater exercise intensity when competing against a live versus virtual competitor. The implication is that live competitors can have an added social facilitation effect and influence exercise intensity, although competitiveness moderates this effect.
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 04/2012; 34(2):252-9. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are devastating, frequent, and still incurable neurodegenerative diseases that manifest as cognitive and motor disorders. Epidemiological data support an inverse relationship between the amount of physical activity (PA) undertaken and the risk of developing these two diseases. Beyond this preventive role, exercise may also slow down their progression. Several mechanisms have been suggested for explaining the benefits of PA in the prevention of AD. Aerobic physical exercise (PE) activates the release of neurotrophic factors and promotes angiogenesis, thereby facilitating neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, which in turn improve memory and cognitive functions. Research has shown that the neuroprotective mechanisms induced by PE are linked to an increased production of superoxide dismutase, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, nerve growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor, and a reduction in the production of free radicals in brain areas such as the hippocampus, which is particularly involved in memory. Other mechanisms have also been reported in the prevention of PD. Exercise limits the alteration in dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and contributes to optimal functioning of the basal ganglia involved in motor commands and control by adaptive mechanisms involving dopamine and glutamate neurotransmission. AD and PD are expansive throughout our ageing society, and so even a small impact of nonpharmacological interventions, such as PA and exercise, may have a major impact on public health.
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