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      The Effects of a Visual Stimuli Training Program on Reaction Time, Cognitive Function, and Fitness in Young Soccer Players

      , , , , , ,
      Sensors
      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          The purpose of the present study was to examine whether a visual stimuli program during soccer training can affect reaction time (RT), cognitive function, and physical fitness in adolescent soccer players. Thirty-eight male soccer players aged 10–15 were randomly assigned to either the intervention (Group A) or the control group (Group B). At baseline and at the end of the 6-month study FITLIGHT Trainer, the Cognitive Function Scanner Mobile Test Suite, a Virtual Reality (VR) game, and the ALPHA—Fitness and the Eurofit test batteries were used to measure participants’ abilities. After the baseline assessment, Group A followed their regular soccer training combined with a visual stimuli program, while Group B continued their regular soccer training program alone for 6 months. At the end of the 6-month study, Group A showed statistically significant improvements in simple RT by 11.8% (p = 0.002), repeated sprints by 13.4% (p ≤ 0.001), and Pen-to-Point Cognitive Function by 71.62% (p < 0.001) and 72.51% for dominant and non-dominant hands, respectively. However, a between-groups analysis showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in most of the measurements studied. In conclusion, a visual stimuli training program does not seem to add any value to the traditional soccer training program for adolescents. Nevertheless, this study helps to underline the potential of newly emerging technology as a tool for the assessment of RT.

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          Neurotrophins: roles in neuronal development and function.

          Neurotrophins regulate development, maintenance, and function of vertebrate nervous systems. Neurotrophins activate two different classes of receptors, the Trk family of receptor tyrosine kinases and p75NTR, a member of the TNF receptor superfamily. Through these, neurotrophins activate many signaling pathways, including those mediated by ras and members of the cdc-42/ras/rho G protein families, and the MAP kinase, PI-3 kinase, and Jun kinase cascades. During development, limiting amounts of neurotrophins function as survival factors to ensure a match between the number of surviving neurons and the requirement for appropriate target innervation. They also regulate cell fate decisions, axon growth, dendrite pruning, the patterning of innervation and the expression of proteins crucial for normal neuronal function, such as neurotransmitters and ion channels. These proteins also regulate many aspects of neural function. In the mature nervous system, they control synaptic function and synaptic plasticity, while continuing to modulate neuronal survival.
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            Beneficial effects of physical exercise on neuroplasticity and cognition.

            The human brain adapts to changing demands by altering its functional and structural properties ("neuroplasticity") which results in learning and acquiring skills. Convergent evidence from both human and animal studies suggests that physical activity facilitates neuroplasticity of certain brain structures and as a result cognitive functions. Animal studies have identified an enhancement of neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, angiogenesis and the release of neurotrophins as neural mechanisms mediating beneficial cognitive effects of physical exercise. This review summarizes behavioral consequences and neural correlates at the system level following physical exercise interventions in humans of different ages. The results suggest that physical exercise may trigger processes facilitating neuroplasticity and, thereby, enhances an individual's capacity to respond to new demands with behavioral adaptations. Indeed, some recent studies have suggested that combining physical and cognitive training might result in a mutual enhancement of both interventions. Moreover, new data suggest that to maintain the neuro-cognitive benefits induced by physical exercise, an increase in the cardiovascular fitness level must be maintained. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Field-based fitness assessment in young people: the ALPHA health-related fitness test battery for children and adolescents.

              The present study summarises the work developed by the ALPHA (Assessing Levels of Physical Activity) study and describes the procedures followed to select the tests included in the ALPHA health-related fitness test battery for children and adolescents. The authors reviewed physical fitness and health in youth findings from cross-sectional studies. The authors also performed three systematic reviews dealing with (1) the predictive validity of health-related fitness, (2) the criterion validity of field-based fitness tests and (3) the reliability of field-based fitness tests in youth. The authors also carried out 11-methodological studies to determine the criterion validity and the reliability of several field-based fitness tests for youth. Finally, the authors performed a study in the school setting to examine the reliability, feasibility and safety of the selected tests. The selected fitness tests were (1) the 20 m shuttle run test to assess cardiorespiratory fitness; (2) the handgrip strength and (3) standing broad jump to assess musculoskeletal fitness, and (4) body mass index, (5) skinfold thickness and (5) waist circumference to assess body composition. When there are time limits, the authors propose the high-priority ALPHA health-related fitness test battery, which comprises all the evidence-based fitness tests except the measurement of the skinfold thickness. The time required to administer this battery to a group of 20 youth by one physical education teacher is less than 2 h. In conclusion, the ALPHA fitness tests battery is valid, reliable, feasible and safe for the assessment of health-related physical fitness in children and adolescents to be used for health monitoring purposes at population level.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
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                Journal
                SENSC9
                Sensors
                Sensors
                MDPI AG
                1424-8220
                September 2022
                September 03 2022
                : 22
                : 17
                : 6680
                Article
                10.3390/s22176680
                36081136
                91ebcc76-01fe-4218-b98e-da5b45fbba58
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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