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Stuart Red, Alex Hacopian, Anne Sereno; Sensorimotor and cognitve changes following exercise with and without subconcussive head trauma. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):298. doi: 10.1167/14.10.298.
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Repeated sub-concussive head trauma is common in many popular sports, however the cognitive effects are not well studied. Many of the studies that have failed to find cognitive differences following subconcussive head blows have used more formal and complicated cognitive testing that lacks sensitivity to more subtle changes, is vulnerable to substantial practice effects, and is susceptible to malingering. Further complicating the detection of any subtle deficits in cognitive function related to subconcussive head blows is the well-known cognitive enhancement related to exercise. Our lab has developed a novel tablet measure based on eye-tracking tasks that may prove more sensitive in detecting cognitive changes. The propoint task is a more reflexive task and involves making a movement to a stimulus, while the anitpoint task tests voluntary/executive function and involves making a motor movement in the opposite direction of a stimulus. Using this novel measure, we measured sensorimotor and cognitive functioning in professional boxers performing boxing workouts either with (spar workout) or without (bag workouts) head blows. We compared performance changes across two different time intervals: (1) immediate- before and after a workout; and (2) delayed- before and 24-48 hours after a workout. We find significant improvements (faster times) on both tasks immediately following a vigorous bag workout. In contrast, subjects show no improvement on either task immediately following a spar workout. Furthermore, 24-48 hours following a workout, subjects show significant improvement on both tasks with a bag workout, whereas they show significant slowing on the antipiont task with a spar workout. These results indicate that exercise alone may be immediately improving performance on these tasks, exercise with subconcussive head blows obliterates this improvement. Further, 24-48 hours later, a bout of exercise without subconcussive blows continues to show significant beneficial effects whereas exercise with subconcussive blows results in significant slowing.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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