Children who are physically fit have faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses during reading than their less-fit peers, researchers report.
The researchers tracked brain activity in participants using electroencephalography, which captures signals from dozens of electrodes on the scalp.
These differences correspond with better language skills in the children who are more fit, and occur whether they’re reading straightforward sentences or sentences that contain errors of grammar or syntax.
A new study of 9- and 10-year-olds finds that those who are more aerobically fit have more fibrous and compact white-matter tracts in the brain than their peers who are less fit. “White matter” describes the bundles of axons that carry nerve signals from one brain region to another. More compact white matter is associated with faster and more efficient nerve activity.
“Previous studies suggest that children with higher levels of aerobic fitness show greater brain volumes in gray-matter brain regions important for memory and learning,” said University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Laura Chaddock-Heyman, who conducted the study with kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman and psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Arthur Kramer. “Now for the first time we explored how aerobic fitness relates to white matter in children's brains.”
The team used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI, …
Many studies conducted in the last decade, on children and older adults, ”have repeatedly demonstrated an effect of increases in either physical activity in one’s lifestyle or improvements in aerobic fitness, and the implications of those health behaviors for brain structure, brain function and cognitive performance,”- Hillman.
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