ECDL/OER Talk: Does the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Val66Met Polymorphism Moderate the Relationships between Sporting Activity and Executive Function in Adolescents?

ECDL/OER Talk: Does the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Val66Met Polymorphism Moderate the Relationships between Sporting Activity and Executive Function in Adolescents?

Date & Time

30 November 2015, 10:00 - 30 November 2015, 11:00

Venue

NIE5-01-TR501

Department

Office of Education Research (OER)

Category

Talks

Events Details

Abstract

Studies have found that exercise improves executive function in various populations but have not investigated whether different types of sporting activity differentially affects executive function. Differences in intensity of the physical activity required in a sport and cognitive processes involved may give rise to differences in the cognitive benefits of exercise. This study investigated whether playing team versus individual sports led to differences in executive function task performance at post-test in 98 thirteen-year-olds. These groups were also compared with a sedentary control group. We also investigated if the Val66Met polymorphism in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)—which increases with exercise and is actively involved in neurogenesis—moderated the relationship between sports and executive function.  Participants with the Met allele have altered BDNF secretion and may not benefit as much cognitively from exercise compared to those homozygous for the Val allele.  Participants from the sports groups without a Met allele had improved performance in the post-test compared to those from the sedentary group for the Flanker inhibition task but not for the other tasks.  Implications of the findings with regards to the study’s East-Asian participants, who mostly carry the Met allele, will be discussed along with future directions, such as the possible use of exercise as cognitive intervention.

Biography

Dr. Ang is a Research Scientist in the Education and Cognitive Development Laboratory (ECDL) at NIE. She received her doctoral training in developmental cognitive psychology at NIE. Her current research interests include the development of executive function and working memory and cognitive intervention for low-achieving children. She is also interested in how exercise or physical activity may influence executive function.

This seminar is organised by Education & Cognitive Development Lab (ECDL), Office of Education  Research.