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Strengthening the Brain—Is Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction an Effective Strategy for Cognitive Improvement?

1
Institute III, Department of Sport Science, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Zschokkestr. 32, 39104 Magdeburg, Germany
2
Research Group Neuroprotection, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
3
Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS), Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
4
Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty, Otto von Guericke University, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(10), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7100337
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 4 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 October 2018 / Published: 9 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Function)
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PDF [788 KB, uploaded 9 October 2018]
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Abstract

Aging is accompanied by a decrease in physical capabilities (e.g., strength loss) and cognitive decline. The observed bidirectional relationship between physical activity and brain health suggests that physical activities could be beneficial to maintain and improve brain functioning (e.g., cognitive performance). However, the exercise type (e.g., resistance training, endurance training) and their exercise variables (e.g., load, duration, frequency) for an effective physical activity that optimally enhance cognitive performance are still unknown. There is growing evidence that resistance training induces substantial brain changes which contribute to improved cognitive functions. A relative new method in the field of resistance training is blood flow restriction training (BFR). While resistance training with BFR is widely studied in the context of muscular performance, this training strategy also induces an activation of signaling pathways associated with neuroplasticity and cognitive functions. Based on this, it seems reasonable to hypothesize that resistance training with BFR is a promising new strategy to boost the effectiveness of resistance training interventions regarding cognitive performance. To support our hypothesis, we provide rationales of possible adaptation processes induced by resistance training with BFR. Furthermore, we outline recommendations for future studies planning to investigate the effects of resistance training with BFR on cognition. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognition; strength training; blood flow restriction; neuroplasticity cognition; strength training; blood flow restriction; neuroplasticity
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Törpel, A.; Herold, F.; Hamacher, D.; Müller, N.G.; Schega, L. Strengthening the Brain—Is Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction an Effective Strategy for Cognitive Improvement? J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7, 337.

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