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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2018, Article ID 3735208, 8 pages
Research Article

Aerobic Exercise Intervention Alters Executive Function and White Matter Integrity in Deaf Children: A Randomized Controlled Study

1College of Physical Education, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu 225127, China
2Department of Medical Imaging, The Affiliated Hospital of Yangzhou University, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu 225009, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Ai-Guo Chen; nc.ude.uzy@nehcga

Received 24 November 2017; Revised 18 March 2018; Accepted 12 April 2018; Published 30 April 2018

Academic Editor: Ping Zheng

Copyright © 2018 Xuan Xiong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined the effects of an 11-week aerobic exercise intervention on executive function (EF) and white matter integrity (WMI). In total, 28 deaf children (aged 9–13 years) were randomly assigned to either an 11-week exercise intervention or the control group. All the children had behavioral assessment and diffusion tensor imaging prior to and following the exercise intervention. The behavioral performance results demonstrated that EF was enhanced by exercise. Relative to the control group, WMI of the exercise intervention group showed (1) lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in the pontine crossing tract (PCT) and right cingulum (hippocampus) (CH), genu of the corpus callosum (gCC), right inferior cerebellar peduncle (ICP), left superior corona radiata (SCR), and left superior frontooccipital fasciculus (SFOF); (2) higher mean diffusivity (MD) in the gCC, right CH, right inferior frontooccipital fasciculus (IFOF), and left anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC); and (3) lower MD in the left ICP and left tapetum (TAP). Furthermore, the lower FA in gCC showed a significant negative correlation with improvement in behavioral performance, but the correlation was not significant after FDR correction. These results suggest that exercise can effectively improve deaf children’s EF and reshape the WMI in deaf children. The improved EF by exercise is not related to a reshaping of WMI, but more studies on the relationship between EF and WMI by exercise may be needed.