Research Reports - Improved cognitive performance following aerobic exercise training in people with traumatic brain injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Nov 26

Kim Chin LM(1), Keyser RE(2), Dsurney J(3), Chan L(3)

OBJECTIVE: To examine cognitive function in individuals with traumatic brain
injury (TBI), prior to and following participation in an aerobic exercise
training program.
DESIGN: Pre-post intervention study.
SETTING: Medical research center.
PARTICIPANTS: Volunteer sample of individuals (n = 7; Age: 33.3 ± 7.9 years; mean
± SD) with chronic non-penetrating TBI (Injury Severity: 3 Mild, 4 Moderate; Time
since most current injury: 4.0 ± 5.5 years) that were ambulatory.
INTERVENTION: 12-weeks of supervised vigorous aerobic exercise training performed
3 times a week for 30 minutes on a treadmill.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cognitive function was assessed using Trail Making Test
(TMT-A and B) and the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological
Status (RBANS). Sleep quality and depression were measured with the Pittsburg
Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI-II). Indices of
cardiorespiratory fitness were used to examine the relationship between
improvements in cognitive function and cardiorespiratory fitness.
RESULTS: After training, improvements in cognitive function were observed with
greater scores on the TMT-A (+10.3 ± 6.8; P=.007), TMT-B (+9.6 ± 7.0; P=.011),
and total scale RBANS (+13.3 ± 9.3; P =.009). No changes were observed in
measures of PSQI and BDI-II. The magnitude of cognitive improvements was also
strongly related to the gains in cardiorespiratory fitness.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that vigorous aerobic exercise training may
improve specific aspects of cognitive function in individuals with TBI, and
cardiorespiratory fitness gains may be a determinant of these improvements.

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