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Run for Your Life! Childhood Physical Activity Effects on Brain and Cognition

Charles H. Hillman, Kirk I. Erickson, and Bradley D. Hatfield

The past two decades have uncovered the beneficial relation of physical activity and other health behaviors on brain and cognition, with the majority of data emerging from older adult populations. More recently, a similar research thread has emerged in school-aged children, which offers insight into the relation of physical activity to scholastic performance, providing a real-world application of the benefits observed in the laboratory. Technological advances have similarly furthered our understanding of physical activity effects on cognitive and brain health. Given this emerging body of work, this manuscript reviews the basic findings within the field, but more importantly suggests triggers or signals from the emerging literature that will shape the field in the near future. The overall goal of this body of research is to increase cognitive and brain health to promote effective functioning of individuals across the lifespan.

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A Review of Childhood Physical Activity, Brain, and Cognition: Perspectives on the Future

Charles H. Hillman and John R. Biggan

This manuscript, which arose from the inaugural Tom Rowland Lecture Series at the 2016 North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine conference, provides a brief descriptive review of what is known (i.e., the state of the science) regarding the relation of childhood physical activity (PA) and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) to brain health, cognition, and academic outcomes. Gaps in the knowledgebase are identified, including characteristics of the PA stimulus that promotes changes in brain and cognition, whether critical periods in development exist in which PA/CRF may have a disproportionately large influence, the understanding of individual difference factors, and the influence upon learning. Lastly, several possible directions for future research are proposed. Although the field of childhood PA, CRF, brain, and cognition is rapidly expanding, there is considerable room for future growth. This manuscript may be helpful in shaping that future growth, with the goal of improving lifelong health and effective functioning.

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Nutritional Supplements and the Brain

Romain Meeusen and Lieselot Decroix

Thinking about food can modulate neural activity in specific brain areas known to be involved in the cognitive controls of appetitive behaviors. This leads to saliva production, gastric acid, and insulin secretion ( Berthoud, 2007 ). When food is encountered, smell and taste act as additional

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Comparison Between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Functions of Cognitive Control in Adolescents: A Tracking Study of 3 Years

Vinícius Muller Reis Weber, Jose Castro‐Piñero, Julio Cesar da Costa, Daniel Zanardini Fernandes, Marcelo Romanzini, and Enio Ricardo Vaz Ronque

formation, and brain activation during childhood ( 11 , 21 ). These morphological changes in the brain are related to academic performance, since higher activation of the prefrontal cortex region result in better performance, especially in math and spelling ( 21 ). In addition, individuals classified in the

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Concussion: A Window Into Brain–Movement Relations in Motor Control

Michael Gay and Semyon Slobounov

Sports-related concussion (SRC) research has a long and storied past in the brain sciences that has evolved over the course of a century of investigations, the culmination of which leaves us at our present-day understanding of sports-related concussion as a complex pathophysiological process caused

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Brain Activation During Passive and Volitional Pedaling After Stroke

Brice T. Cleland and Sheila Schindler-Ivens

There are many examples of altered movement-related brain activation in individuals with poststroke hemiparesis. Changes in the extent, intensity, and location of brain activation have been observed during upper and lower limb movements, in acute and chronic stroke survivors, and before and after

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Considerations for Neuropsychological Testing in the Adolescent Athlete: Implications for the Playing Field and Classroom

Kevin M. Guskiewicz

“Concussion” is all over the news, and—yes—it has implications for combating chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Many parents are pushing their children away from collision sports such as football, hockey, and lacrosse because they fear the risk of chronic neurodegenerative problems later in life. However, there is good logic in emphasizing the importance of physical activities such as collision type sports, during the developmental years. Physical educators, researchers, policy makers, and coaches must work together to encourage safe play and rules changes that can keep youth and adolescents active in sports that build character, discipline, and teach teamwork. Understanding the complexity of the highly adaptable adolescent brain both prior to and following sport-related concussion is critically important in accomplishing this goal.

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Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury and Exercise Medicine: A Narrative Review

Bhanu Sharma and Brian W. Timmons

The recent increase in scientific activity related to traumatic brain injury (TBI)—and in particular, mild TBI and concussion—parallels the growth of public interest in the field. As the international scientific community aligns itself to better diagnose, treat, and manage this injury ( 79 ), which

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Memory Impairments Associated With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Critically Appraised Topic

Karlee Burns, Leah Sanford, Ryan Tierney, and Jane McDevitt

Key Points ▸ Adolescents and young adults with sport-related mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., 9 days to 12 months postinjury) performed worse on memory tests than healthy controls. ▸ There is low-level evidence suggesting structural changes (e.g., cortical thinning) are occurring following sport

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Effects of Water-Based Exercise Training on the Cognitive Function and Quality of Life of Healthy Adult Women

Carlos Ayán, Paulo Carvalho, Silvia Varela, and José María Cancela

With the onset of aging, the human brain experiences a series of changes, both structural (ie, atrophy in the frontal, parietal, and temporal regions) and functional (ie, reduced information-processing speed, working memory decline, and slower response times), which may lead to cognitive impairment