News & Views from the Editor-in-Chief - L. Bruce Gladden
As usual, I am highlighting three papers in this month's journal. First, it is known that growth restriction is associated with an increased incidence of chronic disease. On the other hand, physical activity is known to elicit positive health outcomes. With this background, Ferguson and colleagues exposed healthy and growth-restricted mice to 3 weeks of wheel running and then evaluated their hearts via echocardiography and skeletal muscle fiber type via immunohistochemistry. The healthy, control mice displayed positive health outcomes associated with an aerobic fitness phenotype. However, the growth-restricted mice did not display positive health outcomes and in fact the echocardiography revealed signs of cardiac fibrosis. The researchers hypothesized that during early life, physiology adapts to partition calories to maintain homeostasis at the expense of being able to adapt to physical activity engagement in adulthood. If these results apply to human health, they imply that early life nutrition may play a significant role in subsequent adaptations to exercise training.
Second, in a randomized controlled trial, Ludyga and colleagues investigated both behavioral and neurocognitive effects of judo on response inhibition in preadolescent children. They found that 3 months of judo training (120 min weekly) improved cognitive function, while motor skills and fitness remained unchanged. Examination of brain function using electroencephalography further revealed that more effective conflict monitoring rather than the allocation of attentional resources contributed to improved response inhibition. These findings provide a first indication that the mechanism by which judo benefits higher-order cognition differs from other cognitively enhancing exercise types. Additionally, improvements in response inhibition seem to be a very early adaptation to judo that occurs prior to gains in motor skills and fitness.
Finally, in another randomized trial, Unick et al. examined the effect of 12 weeks of moderate-intensity exercise among inactive women with overweight/obesity, who self-identified as “stress eaters." Individuals randomized to the exercise condition were compared to a no-exercise control group on measures of hedonic eating (i.e., pleasure or reward-driven eating). Compared to control, exercise participants reduced internal disinhibited eating (i.e., eating in response to negative thoughts/feelings), increased dietary restraint (i.e., conscious restriction of food intake), and were less likely to overeat or eat a food when tempted, despite receiving no dietary instructions. These findings suggest that the positive effect of exercise on weight control may be partly due to the impact of exercise on eating behaviors and not solely the energy expenditure of the exercise bout.
L. Bruce Gladden
School of Kinesiology