Management of executive function following assisted cycling therapy in adolescents with down syndrome

Shannon Ringenbach, Simon D. Holzapfel, Madeline Richter, Jay L. Alberts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We have shown promising results of Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT) for improving executive functioning in adolescents with Down syndrome (DS). The current study examines the one month retention of executive function benefits gained by adolescents with DS. Fifteen participants were randomly assigned to voluntary cycling (VC; i.e., selfselected cadence) or Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT; i.e., 65% faster than self-selected cadence accomplished by a motor). Both cycling groups rode a stationary bicycle, for 30 minutes, three times a week, for eight weeks. At the beginning (i.e., pre-test) and end (post-test) of the 8- week session, and at a one month retention (follow-up), three executive functions including set-switching, inhibition, and cognitive planning, were measured. The results showed improved cognitive planning and set switching for the ACT group after 8 weeks of intervention and these improvements were maintained for one month after the intervention. However, no significant differences were found between the cycling groups for our measure of inhibition. Thus, our results suggest that, especially in regards to cognitive planning and set switching, ACT may lead to relatively permanent changes in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDown Syndrome (DS)
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives, Challenges and Management
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781536104493
ISBN (Print)9781536104318
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cognitive planning
  • Intellectual disability
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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