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Katja Linde and Dorothee Alfermann

Background:

Physical and cognitive activity seems to be an effective strategy by which to promote age-sensitive fluid cognitive abilities in older adults.

Method:

In this randomized controlled trial, 70 healthy senior citizens (age 60–75) were allocated to a physical, cognitive, combined physical plus cognitive, and waiting control group. The trial assessed information processing speed, short-term memory, spatial relations, concentration, reasoning, and cognitive speed.

Results:

In contrast to the control group, the physical, cognitive, and combined training groups enhanced their concentration immediately after intervention. Only the physical training group showed improved concentration 3 months later. The combined training group displayed improved cognitive speed both immediately and three months after intervention. The cognitive training group displayed improved cognitive speed 3 months after intervention.

Conclusions:

Physical, cognitive, and combined physical plus cognitive activity can be seen as cognition-enrichment behaviors in healthy older adults that show different rather than equal intervention effects.

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Debbie Van Biesen, Jennifer Mactavish, Janne Kerremans and Yves C. Vanlandewijck

Evidence-based classification systems in Paralympic sport require knowledge of the underlying effect of impairment in a specific sport. This study investigated the relationship between cognition and tactical proficiency in 88 well-trained table tennis players with intellectual disability (ID; 29 women, 59 men, M ± SD IQ 59.9 ± 9.6). Data were collected at 3 competitions sanctioned by the International Federation for Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities (INAS). A generic cognitive test consisting of 8 neuropsychological subtests was used to assess cognitive abilities relevant to sport (reaction time, processing speed, and decision speed; spatial visualization; fluid reasoning; memory; executive functioning; and visual processing). The backward stepwise-regression analysis model revealed that 18% of the variance in tactical proficiency was attributed to spatial visualization and simple reaction time. Applications of these findings resulted in an evidence-based classification system that led to the reinclusion of athletes with ID in Paralympic table tennis and provide the basis for future research in this important area.

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Freja Gheysen, Karel Herman and Delfien Van Dyck

adults with lower cognitive functioning to be more physically active. As such, the increase in PA levels might improve their cognitive abilities (or slow down further cognitive decline). This knowledge is crucial for health practitioners to develop effective PA promotion initiatives. Our findings suggest

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Maureen R. Weiss and Brenda Jo Bredemeier

A developmental theoretical approach is recommended as the most appropriate framework from which to study children's psychosocial experiences in sport. This perspective provides the best understanding of children's sport behaviors by focusing on ontogenetic changes in cognitive abilities which help to describe and explain behavioral variations among individuals. A content analysis of sport psychological research conducted on children and youth over the last decade reveals that few studies selected age groups for investigation that were based on underlying cognitive-developmental criteria. Thus, recommendations emanating from these studies may be misleading or inaccurate. Examples of developmental research from the psychological and sport psychological literature are provided to illustrate the potential for conducting further research on the psychosocial development of children in sport. Finally, guidelines for implementing a systematic line of research in sport psychology from a developmental perspective are outlined.

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Erich J. Petushek, Edward T. Cokely, Paul Ward and Gregory D. Myer

Instrument-based biomechanical movement analysis is an effective injury screening method but relies on expensive equipment and time-consuming analysis. Screening methods that rely on visual inspection and perceptual skill for prognosticating injury risk provide an alternative approach that can significantly reduce cost and time. However, substantial individual differences exist in skill when estimating injury risk performance via observation. The underlying perceptual-cognitive mechanisms of injury risk identification were explored to better understand the nature of this skill and provide a foundation for improving performance. Quantitative structural and process modeling of risk estimation indicated that superior performance was largely mediated by specific strategies and skills (e.g., irrelevant information reduction), and independent of domain-general cognitive abilities (e.g., mental rotation, general decision skill). These cognitive models suggest that injury prediction expertise (i.e., ACL-IQ) is a trainable skill, and provide a foundation for future research and applications in training, decision support, and ultimately clinical screening investigations.

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Christine Stopka, Kevin Morley, Ronald Siders, Josh Schuette, Ashley Houck and Yul Gilmet

Objective/Context:

To examine the effects of static and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching in Special Olympics athletes and their coaches on sit-and-reach performance.

Design/Participants:

Repeated-measures ANOVA with Scheffé post hoc analyses on 2 groups: Special Olympics athletes (n = 18, mean age = 15.7) and their coaches without mental retardation (n = 44, mean age = 22.2).

Intervention/Outcome Measures:

Stretching performance was measured in centimeters using a sit-and-reach flexibility box, examining 2 series of 3 stretches. For both groups, the first set of 3 stretches was performed in the following order: baseline, static, PNF. Three to 4 weeks later, the order of the stretches was reversed: baseline, PNF, static.

Results:

PNF stretching improved performance regardless of stretching order after baseline and static measures. Static stretching improved performance only from baseline.

Conclusions:

Individuals of various ages and cognitive abilities can apparently perform and benefit from PNF stretching.

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Janet L. Starkes

The present study assessed the relative importance of attributes determined largely by the efficiency of the central nervous system versus cognitive attributes in the determination of expertise in field hockey. Three groups were assessed on a battery of field hockey related perceptual and cognitive tasks: the Canadian Women's Field Hockey team, a university team, and a novice group. The attributes assessed were simple reaction time, dynamic visual acuity, coincident anticipation, ball detection speed and accuracy, complex decision speed and accuracy, shot prediction accuracy both when ball impact was viewed and when it was occluded, and recall accuracy of game-structured and nonstructured information. The multitask approach revealed the importance of cognitive abilities in the determination of skill in field hockey.

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Julia Dillmann, Christian-Dominik Peterlein and Gudrun Schwarzer

It was the aim of this study to examine the motor and cognitive development of infants with congenital idiopathic clubfoot, compared with typically developing infants. We repeatedly tested the gross motor, fine motor, and cognitive abilities of 12 infants with clubfoot and 12 typically developing infants at the ages of 4, 6, 9, and 12 months with the Bayley-III Scales. All infants with clubfoot were treated with the Ponseti method, which led to a restriction of normal movements of the lower extremities in the first months of life. They showed a great delay in gross motor development but not in fine motor or cognitive development. However, in the clubfoot group, we found some slight deficits in specific cognitive tasks, including problem solving and spatial memory. In addition, our results revealed significant correlations between gross and fine motor performance and cognitive performance in the control group but only between fine motor and cognitive performance in infants with clubfoot, indicating that both, fine and gross motor skills, are related to cognitive processes and can mutually replace each other to a certain degree. Further research is needed to gain a deeper understanding of clubfoot infants’ development and to clarify the need for mobility training.

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Eeva Aartolahti, Sirpa Hartikainen, Eija Lönnroos and Arja Häkkinen

This study was conducted to determine the characteristics of health and physical function that are associated with not starting strength and balance training (SBT). The study population consisted of 339 community-dwelling individuals (75–98 years, 72% female). As part of a population-based intervention study they received comprehensive geriatric assessment, physical activity counseling, and had the opportunity to take part in SBT at the gym once a week. Compared with the SBT-adopters, the nonadopters (n = 157, 46%) were older and less physically active, had more comorbidities and lower cognitive abilities, more often had sedative load of drugs or were at the risk of malnutrition, had lower grip strength and more instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) difficulties, and displayed weaker performance in Berg Balance Scale and Timed Up and Go assessments. In multivariate models, higher age, impaired cognition, and lower grip strength were independently associated with nonadoption. In the future, more individually-tailored interventions are needed to overcome the factors that prevent exercise initiation.

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Kathrin Wunsch, Anne Henning, Gisa Aschersleben and Matthias Weigelt

The end-state comfort (ESC) effect signifies the tendency to avoid uncomfortable postures at the end of goal-directed movements and can be reliably observed during object manipulation in adults, but only little is known about its development in children. The aim of the present paper is to provide a review of research on the ESC effect in normally developing children and in children with various developmental disorders, and to identify the factors constraining anticipatory planning skills. Three databases (Medline, Scopus, and PubMed) and relevant journals were scrutinized and a step-wise analysis procedure was employed to identify the relevant studies. Thirteen studies assessed the ESC effect in children, ranging from 1.5–14 years of age. Nine out of these thirteen studies reported the ESC effect to be present in normally developing children, but the results are inconsistent with regard to children’s age and the kind of ESC task used. Some evidence even suggests that these planning skills are intact in children with developmental disorders. Inconsistencies between findings are discussed in the light of moderating factors like the number of action steps, precision requirements, familiarity with the task, the task procedure, motivation, sample size, and age, as well as the cognitive and motor development of the participants. Further research is needed to investigate the onset and the developmental course of ESC planning, as well as the interdependencies with other cognitive abilities and sensory-motor skills.