The health benefits of exercise therapy for patients with Down syndrome: a systematic review
Ellapen, Terry J.
Hammill, Henriette V.
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Background: Many patients with Down syndrome (PWDS) have poor cardiometabolic risk profiles, aerobic capacities and weak hypotonic muscles, primarily because of physical inactivity and poor diet. Objectives: This study discusses the benefits of exercise therapy on body composition, aerobic capacity, muscle strength, proprioception and cardiometabolic profiles of PWDS. Methods: A literature review using the Crossref metadatabase, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), focusing on the period 2007-2018, was undertaken. Each record was judged adopting the modified Downs and Black Appraisal Scale. The literature investigation identified 15 701 records. Records were excluded if they were published before 2007, pertained to the impact of exercise on intellectual disabilities beyond Down syndrome or the impact of medical, pharmaceutical, nutrition and psychological interventions among PWDS and were published in languages besides English. Nineteen articles were synthesised into this commentary. Results: PWDS have a heightened cardiometabolic risk profile and high oxidative stress associated with elevated insulin resistance, poor insulin sensitivity, atherosclerosis and hypertension. PWDS have low aerobic capacity (VO2max), peak heart rates, muscle strength, agility and balance. Regular physical activity is beneficial to improve their VO2max and muscle strength. Moreover, regular physical activity reduces lipid peroxidation and arterial cell wall damage, the pathogenesis of atheroma is limited. Conclusion: Exercise therapy compliance seems to have a positive impact on the cardiometabolic risk profile, muscle strength and aerobic work capacity of PWDS. Nonetheless, additional vigorous experimental investigations are necessary to better understand the effect of exercise therapy on the aerobic, strength, proprioception and cardiometabolic risk profile of PWDS
- Faculty of Health Sciences