Assisted Cycling Therapy for Persons with Down Syndrome — Implications for Improvements in Cognitive Functioning


To date, there are few, if any, behavioral or exercise interventions that have been shown effective in improving cognitive functioning in adolescents with Down syndrome (DS). Exercise is a logical answer because it has been repeatedly shown to improve cognitive and physical and mental health in typical populations. However, current exercise recommendations for persons with DS vary greatly. Recommendations are often nonspecific in terms of the type or intensity of exercise, and results on improvement of cognitive functioning are equivocal. This chapter will report on preliminary data of an 8 week intervention of assisted versus voluntary cycling exercise on cognitive and health functions in adolescents with DS. Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT) is innovative and important because it is predicted to enhance neurogenesis, which in turn may improve multiple central nervous system functions related comorbid conditions in adolescents with DS.