The Relation of
Childhood Fitness &
Adiposity to Cognitive &
Brain Health
Charles H. Hillman, Ph.D.
Neurocognitive Kinesio...
Physical Inactivity Trends
• There is a pandemic of physical inactivity in
today’s society.
• Recent reports forecast that...
Physical Fitness & Achievement Test
Performance
360

Total ISAT Score

340
320
300
280
260
240
220

0

1

Castelli, Hillma...
Aerobic Fitness & Achievement Test
Performance
400

350

e oc S T AS l a o T
r
I t

300

250
R 2 = 0.22
200

0

10

20

30...
Body Mass Index & Achievement Test
Performance
400

350

e oc S T AS l a o T
r
I t

300

250
R 2 = 0.06
200
10

15

Castel...
*p < .05
**p < .01
Scudder et al. (in review).
Cognitive Control

Inhibition

Working Memory

Cognitive Flexibility

the ability to ignore
distraction & stay
focused

th...
Flanker Task

100 ms

>>>>>

10
00

>><>>
m
s
10
00

<<><<
m
s
10
00

<<<<<
m
s
Fitness & Basal Ganglia Volume
[r = -.33] [r = -.25]

6000

*

*

5000

4000

*

Higher Fit
Lower Fit

3000
[r = -.26] [r ...
Relational Memory Task
Fitness, Hippocampus, & Memory
80

Memory Performance

75

Low Fit
High Fit

70

*

65

60

55

50
Item Accuracy
Chaddock ...
The FITKids Randomized Trial
An after-school physical activity program occurring on 150 of the 170 day school year.
221 Ch...
Modified Flanker Task

200 ms

12
00

m
s
12
00

m
s
12
00

m
s
Change Flanker Task Performance
Switch Task

200 ms

20
00

m
s
20
00

m
s
20
00

m
s
Change in Heterogeneous Response Accuracy
Change in P3 Amplitude
Flanker Incongruent P3

Relationship with Attendance
Switch Heterogeneous Response Accuracy

Relationship with Attendance
Acute Exercise in Preadolescent Children
Baseline Congruent
Baseline Incongruent
Post Exercise Congruent
Post Exercise Inc...
Acute Exercise & Academic Achievement

Pontifex et al. (in press). J. Pediatrics.
Adiposity, Cognition, & Achievement

Kamijo et al. (in press). Obesity.
Obesity & Inhibition
Go

NoGo

Healthy Weight

Obese

%)

100

90
*

e
R spo
(
y
a
r
u
c
A
e
s
n

80

70

Go
Kamijo et al....
Obesity & ERPs
(NoGo-Go P3 Amplitude)
Healthy Weight

Obese
-2

µV

2

Kamijo et al. (2012). Psychophysiology.
Encoding (Day 1)
Study Only

Test Study

Test: 4 sec

Clay

Study: 6 sec
Taft

Study: 2 sec

Clay

Raine et al. (2013) PLO...
Rate of Learning (Day 1)

Accuracy (% Correct)

Higher Fit
Lower Fit

Block
Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.
Recall (Day 2)
Free

Cued

Pell
Bond Ross Taft Dane
Owen Glen Cass Nash Mack

Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.
Accuracy (% Correct)

Fitness Affects on Recall (Day 2)
Higher Fit
Lower Fit

Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.

*
Fitness x Learning (Day 2)

Accuracy (% Correct)

Higher Fit
Lower Fit

Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.

*

*

Study Only

T...
Conclusions
• Fitness may benefit brain health and academic performance.
• Fitness has been linked to changes in cognition...
Acknowledgements
Collaborators
Sarah Buck (Chicago State U)
Darla Castelli (U Texas)
Neal Cohen (UIUC)
Eco de Geus (Vrije ...
Virtual Crosswalk
• Why do we care about
attention and memory
performance in children?
• Motor vehicle accidents are
among...
Mechanisms for PA & Cognition
• Neurogenesis

• Angiogenesis & synaptogenesis in the cerebellum (Isaacs et al.,
•
•

•

19...
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Charles Hillman, Ph.D. - "The Relation of Childhood Fitness and Adiposity to Brain Health"

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  • Learning Objectives:
    To understand the relation of chronic participation in physical activity and greater amounts of aerobic fitness on brain structure and function
    To understand the role of physical activity on cognitive health and function
    To understand the acute, transient effects of a short bout of moderate exercise on cognitive and brain health
    To demonstrate the relationship between excess adiposity on brain and cognition
    To indicate the relationship between these health factors and scholastic achievement
  • N = 259 3-5th graders, Age, Sex, SES, physical fitness
    Fitnessgram = Aerobic capacity (PACER), muscle (strength, flexibility), BMI
    Pos relationship btw. Total ISAT score &amp; the number of fitnessgram tests in which student scored in the healthy fitness zone
  • When digging deeper into the relationship
    The effect was carried by aerobic capacity
  • When digging deeper into the relationship
    The effect was carried by aerobic capacity
  • N = 397 2nd and 3rd grade children
    Children’s inhibitory control and spatial working memory were investigated in a large sample of preadolescent children whose aerobic fitness was determined using the PACER test. Importantly, even using a field test of aerobic fitness, we replicate the beneficial relation between children’s cognitive control and fitness that previous investigations have uncovered using primarily laboratory measures. While selective findings were not observed for flanker, they were for working memory.
  • Executive control is required to meet desired outcomes and intended goals.
    It refers to a subset of processes associated with the selection, scheduling, and coordination of computational processes that are responsible for perception, memory, and action.
    Situations in which executive control is required include:
    Novel tasks, planning, problem solving, conscious choices among alternatives, overriding a strong internal or external pull, etc.
  • The flanker task has been used to assess interference control
    Relates to the ability to suppress irrelevant information in the environment while maintaining attentional control on relevant information.
    Participants discriminate between two centrally-located targets, which are flanked by an array of other letters that have different action schemas associated with them.
    Variable amounts of interference control are required based on the compatibility of the target and flankers.
  • The striatum (i.e., the largest component of the basal ganglia) plays an integral role in the refinement and control of movement through the selection and maintenance of purposeful motor activity, while suppressing unwanted or useless movement.
    The basal ganglia is part of a cortical-striatal loop that involves projections from the prefrontal, frontal, and parietal cortices, which functions in the selection and initiation of willed action.
    In particular, the dorsal striatum (CN, Put, GP) contributes to ECF, especially decision making, action selection, inhibition, &amp; the integration of sensorimotor &amp; cognitive information.
    The nucleus accumbens (part of the ventral striatum) is involved in affect and reward associated with reinforcement learning and motivational states
    55 ten year olds (30 = lower fit, 25 = higher fit) performed a flanker task
    Higher fit performed better on the flanker task (i.e., better interference control) and had greater dorsal striatum volume (after controlling for intracranial volume).
    No group differences observed in the ventral striatum
    Doral striatum volume correlated with flanker task performance. Ventral striatum did not.
    Findings suggest selective effects of fitness on brain structure, and that fitness serves to promote increased brain health and better cognitive function.
  • Item and Relational Memory Conditions
    High Fit had greater bilateral hippocampal volume
    Hippocampal volume was correlated with relational memory, but not item memory
    N = 49 (21 High vs. 28 Low)
  • 102 females (53 in Rx)
  • N = 122 children, 7-9 years old.
    Accounted for age, sex, fitness, SES, and IQ
    BMI &amp; DXA (total body and ROI of abdominal adipose tissue)
  • 37 Obese &amp; 37 Healthy Weight Children (19 girls in each grp)
    Obese BMI = 25.3 kg/m2 (98%), Healthy Weight BMI = 16.8 (58%)
    8-10 years old (mean age = 9 yrs)
    Matched on VO2, SES, IQ, Age, Sex, etc.
  • In both conditions: initial exposure showed all names on a single map
    In study only: name of one region appeared at a time. They tapped to indicate that they saw each name-region combo
    In test study: name appeared on side of map, and they tapped where they thought the correct region was, and received feedback
    Accuracy was recorded for each block w/in each condition
  • This is only the test-study encoding condition (these data were from their learning day)
  • Free Recall – empty map, fill in all names using the keyboard
    Cued Recall – same, except they had a word bank
    Free recall always occurred before the cued recall condition (for each map – order was free (map1), free (map2), cued (map1), cued (map2)
  • ON THE RECALL DAY…There was a learning effect, such that higher fit learned more regions in the study only condition, regardless of recall strategy.
  • Higher fit participants had greater accuracy than lower fit participants
    The test study condition resulted in higher accuracy than the study only condition
    Tests involving free recall resulted in lower accuracy than the cued recall test
  • Charles Hillman, Ph.D. - "The Relation of Childhood Fitness and Adiposity to Brain Health"

    1. 1. The Relation of Childhood Fitness & Adiposity to Cognitive & Brain Health Charles H. Hillman, Ph.D. Neurocognitive Kinesiology Laboratory Department of Kinesiology & Community Health University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    2. 2. Physical Inactivity Trends • There is a pandemic of physical inactivity in today’s society. • Recent reports forecast that inactivity will continue to rise throughout the industrialized world over the next few decades (Ng & Popkin, 2012). • Although the effects on physical health is well known, cognitive and brain health is only beginning to emerge.
    3. 3. Physical Fitness & Achievement Test Performance 360 Total ISAT Score 340 320 300 280 260 240 220 0 1 Castelli, Hillman, Buck, & Erwin (2007) JSEP. 2 3 Fitnessgram 4 5
    4. 4. Aerobic Fitness & Achievement Test Performance 400 350 e oc S T AS l a o T r I t 300 250 R 2 = 0.22 200 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 PACER (# Laps) Castelli, Hillman, Buck, & Erwin (2007) JSEP. 70 80
    5. 5. Body Mass Index & Achievement Test Performance 400 350 e oc S T AS l a o T r I t 300 250 R 2 = 0.06 200 10 15 Castelli, Hillman, Buck, & Erwin (2007) JSEP. 20 25 Body Mass Index 30 35
    6. 6. *p < .05 **p < .01 Scudder et al. (in review).
    7. 7. Cognitive Control Inhibition Working Memory Cognitive Flexibility the ability to ignore distraction & stay focused the ability to hold information in mind and manipulate it the ability to switch perspectives, focus of attention, or response mappings
    8. 8. Flanker Task 100 ms >>>>> 10 00 >><>> m s 10 00 <<><< m s 10 00 <<<<< m s
    9. 9. Fitness & Basal Ganglia Volume [r = -.33] [r = -.25] 6000 * * 5000 4000 * Higher Fit Lower Fit 3000 [r = -.26] [r = -.35] * 2000 * 1000 0 Left Right Caudate Nucleus Left Right Putamen Chaddock et al. (2010). Developmental Neuroscience,32, 249-256. Left Right Globus Pallidus Left Right Nucleus Accumbens
    10. 10. Relational Memory Task
    11. 11. Fitness, Hippocampus, & Memory 80 Memory Performance 75 Low Fit High Fit 70 * 65 60 55 50 Item Accuracy Chaddock et al. (2010). Brain Research, 1358, 172-183 Relational Accuracy
    12. 12. The FITKids Randomized Trial An after-school physical activity program occurring on 150 of the 170 day school year. 221 Children (Rx = 109, Control = 112) participated intermittent in >70 moderate minutes to of vigorous physical activity following each school day.
    13. 13. Modified Flanker Task 200 ms 12 00 m s 12 00 m s 12 00 m s
    14. 14. Change Flanker Task Performance
    15. 15. Switch Task 200 ms 20 00 m s 20 00 m s 20 00 m s
    16. 16. Change in Heterogeneous Response Accuracy
    17. 17. Change in P3 Amplitude
    18. 18. Flanker Incongruent P3 Relationship with Attendance
    19. 19. Switch Heterogeneous Response Accuracy Relationship with Attendance
    20. 20. Acute Exercise in Preadolescent Children Baseline Congruent Baseline Incongruent Post Exercise Congruent Post Exercise Incongruent Amplitude (uV) -3 0 3 6 0 200 400 600 Time (ms) 800 Hillman et al. (2009). Neuroscience, 159, 1044-1054. 1000
    21. 21. Acute Exercise & Academic Achievement Pontifex et al. (in press). J. Pediatrics.
    22. 22. Adiposity, Cognition, & Achievement Kamijo et al. (in press). Obesity.
    23. 23. Obesity & Inhibition Go NoGo Healthy Weight Obese %) 100 90 * e R spo ( y a r u c A e s n 80 70 Go Kamijo et al. (2012). Psychophysiology. NoGo
    24. 24. Obesity & ERPs (NoGo-Go P3 Amplitude) Healthy Weight Obese -2 µV 2 Kamijo et al. (2012). Psychophysiology.
    25. 25. Encoding (Day 1) Study Only Test Study Test: 4 sec Clay Study: 6 sec Taft Study: 2 sec Clay Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.
    26. 26. Rate of Learning (Day 1) Accuracy (% Correct) Higher Fit Lower Fit Block Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.
    27. 27. Recall (Day 2) Free Cued Pell Bond Ross Taft Dane Owen Glen Cass Nash Mack Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE.
    28. 28. Accuracy (% Correct) Fitness Affects on Recall (Day 2) Higher Fit Lower Fit Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE. *
    29. 29. Fitness x Learning (Day 2) Accuracy (% Correct) Higher Fit Lower Fit Raine et al. (2013) PLOS ONE. * * Study Only Test Study
    30. 30. Conclusions • Fitness may benefit brain health and academic performance. • Fitness has been linked to changes in cognition that are disproportionately larger for tasks requiring cognitive control. • Early PA experience may shape cognition and its neural underpinnings. • Excess adiposity is related to decrements in cognitive & brain health, and scholastic achievement. • Single bouts of aerobic exercise benefit basic and applied aspects of cognitive performance. • Collectively, these data suggest that time spent engaged in physically active does not detract from academic performance. • Thus, early intervention is crucial toward lifespan health and effective function of brain and cognition.
    31. 31. Acknowledgements Collaborators Sarah Buck (Chicago State U) Darla Castelli (U Texas) Neal Cohen (UIUC) Eco de Geus (Vrije U) Joe Donnelly (U Kansas Med) Kirk Erickson (U Pitt) Ellen Evans (U Georgia) Bo Fernhall (UIC) Eric Hall (Elon College) Keita Kamijo (Waseda U) Art Kramer (UIUC) Eddie McAuley (UIUC) Rob Motl (UIUC) Matthew Pontifex (MSU) Jason Themanson (IL Weslyan U) Michelle Voss (U Iowa) Students Laura Chaddock Eric Drollette Chris Johnson Naiman Khan Davis Moore Kevin O’Leary Lauren Raine Mark Scudder Kelvin Wu Funding NICHD HD055352 NICHD HD069381 NIDDK DK085317 CNLM/Abbott Labs Nike Foundation IARPA
    32. 32. Virtual Crosswalk • Why do we care about attention and memory performance in children? • Motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of death among children under the age of 16 years in the U.S. • Given the importance of fitness to cognition, might fitness lead to better decision making at the crosswalk? 90 80 Lower-Fit Higher-Fit 70 60 50 Chaddock et al. (2012). MMSE, 44, 749-753 40 Undistracted Music Phone
    33. 33. Mechanisms for PA & Cognition • Neurogenesis • Angiogenesis & synaptogenesis in the cerebellum (Isaacs et al., • • • 1992) Increased density of capillaries in the molecular layer to support increased metabolic demands (Black et al., 1990) Enhanced neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (van Praag et al., 1999) • Increased LTP and Morris water maze performance Increase levels of neurochemicals that improve plasticity and neuronal survival • Brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF; Cotman & Berchtold, 2002) • e.g., 7 days of voluntary wheel running increased BDNF mRNA levels in the hippocampus, cerebellum, and cortex (Neeper et al., 1996). • Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1; Carro et al., 2001) • Serotonin (Blomstrand et al., 1989) • Dopamine (Spirduso & Farrar, 1981) • Brain Metabolism • Regional cerebral blood flow and oxygenization (Dustman et al., 1984) • Glucose and lactate consumption associated with ∆ in neuronal pH

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