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Acute Exercise Intensity and Memory Function: Evaluation of the Transient Hypofrontality Hypothesis

Exercise & Memory Laboratory, Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA
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Medicina 2019, 55(8), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55080445
Received: 28 June 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 7 August 2019
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Abstract

Background and Objective: The transient hypofrontality hypothesis predicts that memory function will be impaired during high-intensity exercise, as a result of a need for metabolic and cognitive resources to be allocated toward sustaining movement, as opposed to performing a cognitive task. The purpose of these experiments was to evaluate this transient hypofrontality hypothesis. Materials and Methods: Experiment 1 involved participants (n = 24; Mage = 21.9 years) completing four counterbalanced visits. Two visits evaluated working memory function, either at rest or during a high-intensity bout of acute exercise. The other two visits evaluated episodic memory function, either at rest or during a high-intensity bout of acute exercise. Experiment 2 (n = 24; Mage = 20.9 years) extended Experiment 1 by evaluating memory function (working memory) across 4 counterbalanced conditions, including at rest and during light (30% of heart rate reserve; HRR), moderate (50% HRR) and high-intensity (80% HRR) acute exercise. Results: Experiment 1 demonstrated that, when compared to rest, both working memory and episodic memory were impaired during high-intensity acute exercise. Experiment 2 replicated this effect, but then also showed that, unlike high-intensity acute exercise, memory function was not impaired during low- and moderate-intensity acute exercise. Conclusions: Our experiments provide support for the transient hypofrontality hypothesis. Both working memory and episodic memory are impaired during high-intensity acute exercise. Working memory does not appear to be impaired during lower exercise intensities. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognition; hippocampus; physical activity; prefrontal cortex cognition; hippocampus; physical activity; prefrontal cortex
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Loprinzi, P.D.; Day, S.; Deming, R. Acute Exercise Intensity and Memory Function: Evaluation of the Transient Hypofrontality Hypothesis. Medicina 2019, 55, 445.

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