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DOI

10.25035/jsmahs.02.02.01

Abstract

Background: Exercise has long played a critical role in the recovery from athletic injuries. Of recent, concussion research has escalated creating new insights into the treatment of and rehabilitation from concussion syndromes. As part of the concussion research, multiple uses of the ImPACT tool have evolved to measure cognitive function. However, combining the variables of cognitive improvement as measured by the ImPACT protocol with aerobic and anaerobic exercise has not been investigated. Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to assess the influence of acute bouts of aerobic versus resistance exercise on cognitive function of college-aged participants as measured by the ImPACT Protocol. Study Design: Pre-Test – Post Test Experimental Design. Methods: We compared composite scores on two sessions of ImPACT testing (dependent variables) immediately before, immediately after, and 45 minutes after interventions consisting of a randomly assigned aerobic exercise session, resistance exercise session, or seated rest control (independent variables). Twenty college aged participants (11 females, age= 20.1±0.9; 9 males, age= 20.2± 1.6 yrs) completed the study. Results: The aerobic group’s average (p = 0.07) weight (166±16.8) demonstrated the trend of being higher (p=0.07) than the control (153.9 ±19.0) or resistance group (130±16.1). There was no significant difference (p=0.18) in average height or age between the study groups. Findings indicate a significant change in measures of reaction time (p=0.008), impulse control (p=0.008), and visual motor speed (p = 0.03) across all three groups of participants. No significant change was seen in measures of visual (p=0.08) or verbal memory (p=0.198). Discussion: The results cannot be seen as suggesting that exercise has no effect on cognitive function. Conclusion and Clinical Implications: These findings may suggest a learning effect previously unaccounted for in the ImPACT testing protocol. Keywords: Aerobic, Anaerobic, Cognitive Testing, Exercise

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