Aerobic exercise training programmes for improving physical and psychosocial health in adults with Down syndrome

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Andriolo, Regis B. [UNIFESP]
El Dib, Regina P.
Ramos, Luis [UNIFESP]
Atallah, Alvaro N. [UNIFESP]
Silva, Edina M. K. da [UNIFESP]
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BackgroundAlthough physical fitness has been suggested to improve physical and psychosocial health for a variety of population profiles, there is a lack of information about the safety and effectiveness of aerobic exercise for adults with Down syndrome.ObjectivesTo evaluate the effectiveness and safety of aerobic exercise training programmes for physiological and psychosocial outcomes in adults with Down syndrome.Search strategyThe following electronic databases were searched: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2009, Issue 1); MEDLINE (1966 to August 2009); EMBASE (1980 to August 2009); CINAHL (1982 to August 2009); LILACS (1982 to August 2009); PsycINFO (1887 to August 2009); ERIC (1966 to August 2009); Current Controlled Trials (August 2009); and Campbell Collaboration's Social, Psychological, Educational and Criminological Register (C2-SPECTR) (to August 2009). Information about ongoing clinical trials was sought by searching ( (accessed August 2009), and the National Research Register (NRR) (2009 Issue 1).Selection criteriaRandomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials using supervised aerobic exercise training programmes with behavioral components accepted as co-interventions.Data collection and analysisTwo reviewers selected relevant trials, assessed methodological quality and extracted data. Where appropriate, data were pooled using meta-analysis with a random-effects model. Positive values favour the intervention group, while negative values favour the control group.Main resultsThree studies included in this systematic review used different kinds of aerobic activity: walking/jogging and rowing training and included participants with a broad age range (17 to 65 years). They were conducted in the USA, Portugal and Israel. in the meta-analyses, only maximal treadmill grade was improved after aerobic exercise training programmes (4.26 grades (%) [ 95% CI 2.06, 6.45]). Other variables relative to work performance that could not be combined in a meta-analysis were also improved in the intervention group (maximal test time P=0.0003), total turns of fan wheel (P=0.02), resistance of ergometer (p=0.003), power knee extension and flexion (p<0.00001), and timed up and go test (p=0.008). Thirty other outcomes measured in this review including, oxidative stress and body composition variables, could not be combined in the meta-analysis. Apart from work performance, trials reported no statistically significant improvements.Authors' conclusionsThere is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that there is improvement in physical or psychosocial outcomes of aerobic exercise in adults with Down syndrome. Although evidence exists to support improvements in physiological and psychological aspects from strategies using mixed physical activity programmes, well-conducted research examining long-term physical outcomes, adverse effects, psychosocial outcomes and costs is required before informed practice decisions can be made.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, n. 5, 57 p., 2010.