Article

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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