Neurology News

Walking Linked to Improved Cognitive Outcomes in Down Syndrome

HealthDay News — For adults with Down syndrome (DS), walking interventions are associated with improved physical and cognitive outcomes, according to a study published online Nov. 29 in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Viviane Merzbach, from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and colleagues examined the effects of eight weeks of prescribed exercise and/or cognitive training on the physical and cognitive health of 83 adults with DS across five continents. Physical fitness was assessed using a modified version of the six-minute walk test (6MWT); cognitive and executive function were also assessed. Participants were assigned to eight weeks of exercise (EXE [three x 30 minutes per week of walking/jogging]), cognitive training (COG) six times per week, a combined group (COM), or a control group (CON), which did not engage in any of the interventions.

The researchers found that the 6MWT distance increased by 11.4 and 9.9 percent for EXE and COM, respectively. Across all experimental groups, for the Sustained-Attention-to-Response Task, there were positive significant interactions observed between the number of correct and incorrect responses from preintervention to postintervention when participants were asked to refrain from a response. For the Stroop task, there were positive significant interactions seen for the number of correct, incorrect, and timeout incompatible responses in EXE, COG, and COM.

“Increased cognitive function will help foster increased societal integration and quality of life, which, given that this is the first generation of those with DS to outlive their parents and caregivers, is of importance,” the authors write.

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