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Brain Res Rev. 2006 Aug 30;52(1):119-30. Epub 2006 Feb 20.

A meta-regression to examine the relationship between aerobic fitness and cognitive performance.

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  • 1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, USA. JLEtnier@uncg.edu

Abstract

Many studies have been conducted to test the potentially beneficial effects of physical activity on cognition. The results of meta-analytic reviews of this literature suggest that there is a positive association between participation in physical activity and cognitive performance. The design of past research demonstrates the tacit assumption that changes in aerobic fitness contribute to the changes in cognitive performance. Therefore, the purpose of this meta-analysis was to use meta-regression techniques to statistically test the relationship between aerobic fitness and cognitive performance. Results indicated that there was not a significant linear or curvilinear relationship between fitness effect sizes (ESs) and cognitive ESs for studies using cross-sectional designs or posttest comparisons. However, there was a significant negative relationship between aerobic fitness and cognitive performance for pre-post comparisons. The effects for the cross-sectional and pre-post comparisons were moderated by the age group of the participants; however, the nature of this effect was not consistent for the two databases. Based on the findings of this meta-analytic review, it is concluded that the empirical literature does not support the cardiovascular fitness hypothesis. To confirm the findings of this review, future research should specifically test the dose-response relationship between aerobic fitness and cognitive performance. However, based upon the findings of this review, we also encourage future research to focus on other physiological and psychological variables that may serve to mediate the relationship between physical activity and cognitive performance.

PMID:
16490256
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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