JMIR Publications published “Daily Level Association of Physical Activity and Performance on Ecological Momentary Cognitive Tests in Free-living Environments: A Mobile Health Observational Study” in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, which reported that research is needed to determine whether the benefits of physical activity (PA) on cognitive function extend from the laboratory to real-world contexts.
This observational study aims to examine the association between daily fluctuations in PA and cognitive performance using mobile health technologies in free-living environments.
A total of 90 adults with various comorbidities and different levels of baseline cognition completed ecological momentary cognitive tests (EMCTs) on a smartphone twice daily while wearing an accelerometer to capture PA levels for 14 days. Moderation analyses investigated whether the relationship between daily PA and daily performance on EMCTs changed as a function of baseline cognition, cardiovascular risk, and functional status. Moderation analyses indicated that days with greater PA were associated with better executive function performance in individuals who were functionally dependent
Dr Zvinka Z Zlatar, PhD, from The Department of Psychiatry at The University of California, San Diego said, “The exponential growth of the older adult population will result in more individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).”
Less is known about the acute effects of PA on cognition in middle-aged and older adults in real-world contexts, where ecological validity is optimized.
The acute effects of PA on cognition have generally been studied in laboratory settings, where individuals complete cognitive tasks before, during, or immediately following an exercise challenge. Within these settings, it has been found that acute moderate-intensity PA results in improved executive function and working memory performance in older adults, although others have found that acute exercise before memory encoding tasks may impair performance in older adults.
New in JMIR mhealth: Daily Level Association of #PhysicalActivity and Performance on Ecological Momentary Cognitive Tests in Free-living Environments: A #Mobile #Health Observational Study https://t.co/GLyH8MKTwL pic.twitter.com/K971YWFXJF
— JMIR Publications (@jmirpub) January 31, 2022
A meta-analysis of the literature showed that the overall effect of acute exercise on cognition is positive but generally small and that longer exercise duration, greater intensity, type of cognitive performance assessed, and greater fitness level appear to be significant moderators of larger effect sizes.
Owing to research-grade accelerometry, it is now possible to remotely track PA behavior, and smartphone-based technology can assess cognitive function in real-world contexts using ecological momentary cognitive tests.
Zlatar and team concluded in their JMIR Publications Research Output, “using EMCTs and accelerometry to capture cognitive performance and PA in free-living environments may be an ecologically valid means of capturing real-world associations between cognition and PA. Our findings suggest that these digital techniques are promising candidates for tracking cognitive change and may be useful in the context of lifestyle (nonpharmacological) digital interventions designed to reduce ADRD risk and improve brain and cognitive health. Having participants complete cognitive tests in more familiar settings, such as their home or during other daily activities, can help increase the generalizability of findings, reduce intervention costs, increase scalability, and improve adherence to digital health interventions.”
Full-text – https://mhealth.jmir.org/2022/1/e33747/
Free Altmetric Report – https://jmir.altmetric.com/details/121870256
Keywords – smartphones, neuropsychology, ecological momentary assessment, digital health, exercise, people living with HIV, aging, wearables, mobile cognition, mobile phone
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