OPEN PloS one | 25 Mar 2015
AP Silva, SO Prado, TA Scardovelli, SR Boschi, LC Campos and AF Frère
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) mainly affects the academic performance of children and adolescents. In addition to bringing physical and mental health benefits, physical activity has been used to prevent and improve ADHD comorbidities; however, its effectiveness has not been quantified. In this study, the effect of physical activity on children’s attention was measured using a computer game. Intense physical activity was promoted by a relay race, which requires a 5-min run without a rest interval. The proposed physical stimulus was performed with 28 volunteers: 14 with ADHD (GE-EF) and 14 without ADHD symptoms (GC-EF). After 5 min of rest, these volunteers accessed the computer game to accomplish the tasks in the shortest time possible. The computer game was also accessed by another 28 volunteers: 14 with ADHD (GE) and 14 without these symptoms (GC). The response time to solve the tasks that require attention was recorded. The results of the four groups were analyzed using D'Agostino statistical tests of normality, Kruskal-Wallis analyses of variance and post-hoc Dunn tests. The groups of volunteers with ADHD who performed exercise (GE-EF) showed improved performance for the tasks that require attention with a difference of 30.52% compared with the volunteers with ADHD who did not perform the exercise (GE). The (GE-EF) group showed similar performance (2.5% difference) with the volunteers in the (GC) group who have no ADHD symptoms and did not exercise. This study shows that intense exercise can improve the attention of children with ADHD and may help their school performance.
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