Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 110 - 116

Research article
Effects of a Single-Session Cognitive Enhancement Fitness Program on Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels and Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Women
Hyun Jun Kim1, Sang Yeoup Lee2, , Hwa Gyeong Lee3, Yang Hee Cho4, Eun Mi Ko4
Author Information
1 Department of Physical Education, Kyugnam University, Changwon, Korea
2 Family Medicine Clinic and Research Institute of Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital and Department of Medical Education, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, Korea
3 Department of Physical Therapy, Kyungnam University, Changwon, Korea
4 Amway Korea, Seoul, Korea

Sang Yeoup Lee
✉ MD Family Medicine Clinic, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Beomeo-ri, Mulgeum-eup, Yangsan, 50612, South Korea
Publish Date
Received: 24-07-2017
Accepted: 29-12-2017
Published (online): 01-03-2018
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Few studies have been undertaken to develop cognitive functional improvement-focused exercise programs and determine their effect. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of a cognitive enhancement fitness program (CEFP) on short-term memory and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels according to the cognitive state in middle-aged women. A total of 30 healthy volunteers aged 40–59 years were divided into two groups, that is, a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) group and a non-MCI group based on results from the Korean Dementia Screening Questionnaire. A single-session CEFP was conducted over 50 min and consisted of four parts: warm-up, low intensity interval circulation dance exercises, moderate intensity resistance exercises using elastic bands, and cool-down. Serum BDNF levels were measured by ELISA and short-term memory determined by forward digit/word span test was assessed before and after CEFP. After CEFP, forward digit/word span test scores and BDNF levels increased to median 119.2%/115.1% and 118.7%, respectively. After CEFP, the MCI and non-MCI groups produced higher forward digit span test scores (from 6.7 ± 1.5 to 7.5 ± 1.4 points, p = 0.023 and from 6.2 ± 2.0 to 7.0 ± 2.1 points, P=0.011, respectively). After CEFP, forward word span scores and BDNF levels increased (from 3.5 ± 1.7 to 4.6 ± 1.8 points, p = 0.029 and from 610.8 ± 221.1 to 757.9 ± 267.9 pg/ml, p = 0.017, respectively) in non-MCI group only. No group differences were observed between change in short-term memory and change in BDNF. Short-term memory and BDNF levels after CEFP were found to be negatively correlated with age, but pre- to post-intervention changes in short-term memory and BDNF were not. The present study shows that a single, 50-minute CEFP improved short-term memory and increased serum BDNF levels in healthy middle-aged women, especially those without MCI.

Key words: Exercise, dance, cognition, memory, brain-derived neurotrophic factor

           Key Points
  • A single 50-minute CEFP comprised 5 minutes of general warm up and mat stretching, 20 minutes of low intensity activities with 8 dance exercises (RPE 11-12), another 20 minutes of moderate intensity activities including 8 resistance exercises using elastic bands ((RPE 13-15), and finally a 5-minute general cool down with yoga.
  • Both MCI and non-MCI groups produced higher forward digit span test scores and had higher serum BDNF levels after CEFP but forward word span scores were increased only in non-MCI.
  • A single 50-minute brain fitness program improved short-term memory and increased serum BDNF levels in healthy middle-aged women, especially those without MCI.
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