News & Views from the Editor-in-Chief - L. Bruce Gladden
I am highlighting three provocative articles from the January 2017 issue of MSSE®. First, Zhu et al. studied the dose–response association between objectively measured physical activity (PA) and cognitive function in a large and racially/ethnically diverse older population. They found even a minor difference in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) (i.e., only a 3–5 min mean difference) was associated with a significant decrease (36% or more) in incident cognitive impairment and greater maintenance of executive function and memory. Higher MVPA was independently associated with a 39%–47% lower risk of cognitive impairment and better maintenance of memory and executive function in white adults, as well as maintenance of memory performance in black adults. These findings provide information for physical activity recommendations to maintain optimal cognitive function during aging, and could support further clinical intervention studies exploring more innovative approaches to protect older people from cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
Second, Shiroma et al. investigated the longitudinal association of strength training with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk among older women. Drawing from the Women's Health Study, they used a longitudinal study design with a long follow-up period (>10 yr) and self-reported physical activity questionnaires, which were updated over time. Their results showed that women who participated in any self-reported strength training experienced substantial reductions in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk, even after adjusting for time spent in other activities. Furthermore, engaging in both aerobic activity and strength training provided additional benefits in comparison to participating in only aerobic activity, even after adjusting for the total amount of activity.
Finally, constraints placed on the sensorimotor system as a result of the development of Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI) are believed to result in a reorganization of the sensorimotor system and contribute to the functional impairments associated with CAI. Recent studies have demonstrated that this reorganization may be occurring within the supraspinal motor control centers. Therefore, Kosik and colleagues compared the corticomotor map output to the fibularis longus (FL) muscle between those with, and without CAI. They found that the CAI group had a smaller corticomotor map area and decreased volume to the FL as compared to the uninjured group. These findings suggest that participants with CAI may have a smaller and less excitable neuronal network within the primary motor cortex devoted to the control of the FL muscle. The functional relevance of this finding requires further investigation.
L. Bruce Gladden
School of Kinesiology