Hillman, C. H. et al. Physical activity and cognitive function in a cross-section of younger and older community-dwelling individuals. Health Psychol. 25, 678-687

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 12/2006; 25(6):678-87. DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.25.6.678
Source: PubMed


Previous reports have indicated a small, positive relationship between physical activity and cognition. However, the majority of research has focused on older adults, with few studies examining this relationship during earlier periods of the life span. This study examined the relationship of physical activity to cognition in a cross-section of 241 community-dwelling individuals 15-71 years of age with a task requiring variable amounts of executive control. Data were analyzed with multiple regression, which controlled for age, sex, and IQ. Participants reported their physical activity behavior and were tested for reaction time (RT) and response accuracy on congruent and incongruent conditions of a flanker task, which manipulates interference control. After controlling for confounding variables, an age-related slowing of RT was observed during both congruent and incongruent flanker conditions. However, physical activity was associated with faster RT during these conditions, regardless of age. Response accuracy findings indicated that increased physical activity was associated with better performance only during the incongruent condition for the older cohort. Findings suggest that physical activity may be beneficial to both general and selective aspects of cognition, particularly among older adults.

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Available from: Charles Hillman, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "The strengths of our study include a large sample size, objective measurement of daily MVPA, aerobic fitness and adiposity, and controlling for important confounders (IQ, maternal education, objectively assessed adiposity, ADHD status based on clinical assessments). Our study is also one of a few (Hillman et al., 2006) to inspect the relations of physical activity to cognitive function in older adolescents. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the relations of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) to cognitive functions in 15-year-old adolescents from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children while controlling for aerobic fitness. A sub-sample of 667 adolescents (M age = 15.4 ± 0.16 years; 55 % females) who provided valid data on variables of interest, were used in the analyses. MVPA was objectively assessed using an Actigraph GT1M accelerometer and aerobic fitness was expressed as physical work capacity at the heart rate of 170 beats per minute from a cycle ergometer test. A computerized stop-signal task was used to measure mean reaction time (RT) and standard deviation of RT, as indicators of cognitive processing speed and variability during an attention and inhibitory control task. MVPA was not significantly related to cognitive processing speed or variability of cognitive performance in hierarchical linear regression models. In simple regression models, aerobic fitness was negatively related to mean RT on the simple go condition. Our results suggest that aerobic fitness, but not MVPA, was associated with cognitive processing speed under less cognitively demanding task conditions. The results thus indicate a potential global effect of aerobic fitness on cognitive functions in adolescents but this may differ depending on the specific task characteristics.
    Psychological Research 10/2014; 79(5). DOI:10.1007/s00426-014-0612-2 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    • "Prior to hypothesis testing, independent samples t-tests were calculated between the dependent variables, SE, and sex and bivariate Pearson Product Moment correlations were calculated between the dependent variables, SE, personality, and other individual difference factors (i.e., age, IQ). Correlations including personality, age, and IQ and t-tests including sex were examined due to findings in previous research showing relations between these individual difference variables and SE (Rebok & Balcerak, 1989; Themanson et al., 2008; Thoms, Moore, & Scott, 1996; Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990), P3b (van Beijsterveldt et al., 1998; Ditraglia & Polich, 1991; Houlihan et al., 1998; Polich, 1996; Polich & Martin, 1992; Stelmack & Houlihan, 1994), or flanker task performance (Hillman et al., 2006; Williams et al., 2009). Separate hierarchical stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted for each dependent measure (P3b amplitude, P3b latency, response accuracy, RT). "
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    ABSTRACT: Self-efficacy (SE) is a modifiable psychosocial factor related to individuals’ beliefs in their capabilities to successfully complete courses of action and has been shown to be positively associated with task performance. The authors hypothesized that one means through which SE is related with improved performance is through enhanced task-relevant attentional control during task execution. To assess this hypothesis, we examined the relationships between SE and behavioural and neural indices of task performance and task-relevant attentional control for 76 young adults during the completion of a flanker task. Results showed that greater SE was associated with greater response accuracy and P3b amplitude across task conditions, and faster RT under more difficult task conditions. Additionally, P3b amplitude was found to mediate the relationship between SE and task performance in the difficult condition. These findings suggest that greater attentional allocation to task-relevant processes, including monitoring stimulus-response relationships and focusing attention on working memory operations, may help explain the association between SE and improved task performance.
    09/2014; 106(2). DOI:10.1111/bjop.12091
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    • "Evidence from cross-sectional studies has consistently shown linear age-related declines in cognitive functions such as processing speed, short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory [7]. The age-related decrements in cognition have been associated with changes in brain structure and function, and physical activity might play a central role in ameliorating age-associated cognitive losses [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence suggests that diet and lifestyle can play an important role in delaying the onset or halting the progression of age-related health disorders and can improve cognitive function. Exercise has been promoted as a possible prevention for neurodegenerative diseases. Exercise will have a positive influence on cognition and it increases the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, an essential neurotrophin. Several dietary components have been identified as having effects on cognitive abilities. In particular, polyphenols have been reported to exert their neuroprotective actions through the potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins, an ability to suppress neuroinflammation, and the potential to promote memory, learning, and cognitive function. Dietary factors can affect multiple brain processes by regulating neurotransmitter pathways, synaptic transmission, membrane fluidity, and signal-transduction pathways. Flavonols are part of the flavonoid family that is found in various fruits, cocoa, wine, tea and beans. Although the antioxidant effects of flavonols are well established in vitro, there is general agreement that flavonols have more complex actions in vivo. Several cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have shown that a higher intake of flavonoids from food may be associated with a better cognitive evolution. Whether this reflects a causal association remains to be elucidated. Several studies have tried to 'manipulate' the brain in order to postpone central fatigue. Most studies have clearly shown that in normal environmental circumstances these interventions are not easy to perform. There is accumulating evidence that rinsing the mouth with a carbohydrate solution will improve endurance performance. There is a need for additional well controlled studies to explore the possible impact of diet and nutrition on brain functioning.
    05/2014; 44 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):47-56. DOI:10.1007/s40279-014-0150-5
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