Colcombe Article Summary Paper

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Colcombe et al. (2004) Article Summary
Many different research experiments have been aimed to study the effects of exercise on the brain. While a majority of the experiments have involved animals rather than humans, the article “Cardiovascular fitness, cortical plasticity, and aging” by Colcombe et al. (2004) discusses two studies that involve exercise and brain wave measurements. Colcombe et al. (2004) inform that previous studies have found that aerobic exercise training results in a more efficient, plastic, adaptive brain; the greatest changes are seen in prefrontal and parietal cortices. It is hypothesized that experiment results will prove sedentary subject’s brains become more plastic with cardiovascular fitness training compared to a control group, and older adults who are highly fit will show higher amounts of brain function in fMRI scans (Colcombe et al., 2004). Methods/Procedures

There were two different studies performed in this experiment. The first study included 41 older participants. Each participant completed a Rockport 1-mile walk test so that his or her VO¬2 could be estimated. Fifteen of the 41 participants also completed another treadmill VO2 test to compare to the Rockport 1-mile VO2 estimates. This comparison helped assure that VO2 estimates were valid. During a separate session, participants were asked to perform a flanker test, responding to certain arrow directions. Reaction time was recorded for only correct and incorrect responses for later analysis. While performing this task, subject’s brain scans were being recorded via fMRI for analysis. (Colcombe et al., 2004).

The second study used 29 new participants whose ages were between 58 and 77 years old. These patients were split into two exercise groups. One group participated in aerobic exercise, while the other control group focused on stretching and toning. Each group exercised for about 45 minutes three times a week for six months. To test brain function, each subject performed...
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