Aerobic fitness is associated with greater efficiency of the network underlying cognitive control in preadolescent children.

Beckman Institute and Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801, USA.
Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.12). 12/2011; 199:166-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.10.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined whether individual differences in aerobic fitness are associated with differences in activation of cognitive control brain networks in preadolescent children. As expected, children performed worse on a measure of cognitive control compared with a group of young adults. However, individual differences in aerobic fitness were associated with cognitive control performance among children. Lower-fit children had disproportionate performance cost in accuracy with increasing task difficulty, relative to higher-fit children. Brain activation was compared between performance-matched groups of lower- and higher-fit children. Fitness groups differed in brain activity for regions associated with response execution and inhibition, task set maintenance, and top-down regulation. Overall, differing activation patterns coupled with different patterns of brain-behavior correlations suggest an important role of aerobic fitness in modulating task strategy and the efficiency of neural networks that implement cognitive control in preadolescent children.

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    ABSTRACT: Aerobic fitness has been found to play a positive role in brain and cognitive health of children. Yet, many of the neural biomarkers related to aerobic fitness remain unknown. Here, using diffusion tensor imaging, we demonstrated that higher aerobic fitness was related to greater estimates of white matter microstructure in children. Higher fit 9- and 10-year-old children showed greater fractional anisotropy (FA) in sections of the corpus callosum, corona radiata, and superior longitudinal fasciculus, compared to lower fit children. The FA effects were primarily characterized by aerobic fitness differences in radial diffusivity, thereby raising the possibility that estimates of myelination may vary as a function of individual differences in fitness during childhood. White matter structure may be another potential neural mechanism of aerobic fitness that assists in efficient communication between gray matter regions as well as the integration of regions into networks.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:584. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    Frontiers in neuroscience. 01/2014; 8:143.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To examine the independent and combined associations of the components of physical fitness with academic performance among youths. Study design This cross-sectional study included a total of 2038 youths (989 girls) aged 6-18 years. Cardiorespiratory capacity was measured using the 20-m shuttle run test. Motor ability was assessed with the 4 × 10-m shuttle run test of speed of movement, agility, and coordination. A muscular strength z-score was computed based on handgrip strength and standing long jump distance. Academic performance was assessed through school records using 4 indicators: Mathematics, Language, an average of Mathematics and Language, and grade point average score. Results Cardiorespiratory capacity and motor ability were independently associated with all academic variables in youth, even after adjustment for fitness and fatness indicators (all P ≤ .001), whereas muscular strength was not associated with academic performance independent of the other 2 physical fitness components. In addition, the combined adverse effects of low cardiorespiratory capacity and motor ability on academic performance were observed across the risk groups (P for trend <.001). Conclusion Cardiorespiratory capacity and motor ability, both independently and combined, may have a beneficial influence on academic performance in youth.
    The Journal of Pediatrics. 01/2014;


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May 29, 2014