The Effect of Combined Physical and Mental Exertion Prior to using DETECT, a Novel Neuropsychological Test Battery
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The purpose of this intervention study is to identify the effect of physical and mental exertion on neuropsychological assessments using the neuropsychological DETECT test in healthy, moderately fit, college-aged students. Four test conditions were completed by each subject: 1) effects of mental exertion (reduced sustained attention) on DETECT scores; 2) effects of physical exertion (submaximal cycling) on DETECT; 3) effects of physical and mental exertion on DETECT; and 4) controlled rest effect on DETECT. Mental exertion was induced by a Continuous Performance Task over the course of 20 minutes, and physical exertion was induced by a stationary bicycle with settings based on a prior submaximal graded exercise of each subject. The goal of this study was to identify the individual and combined effects of mental exertion and physical exertion on neuropsychological performance. Mental exertion produced a significant overall decreased performance on DETECT, physical exertion produced an even higher decrease, and the combined exertion had a decrease in performance comparable to that of mental exertion alone. The finding might be useful in adjusting baseline scores of neuropsychological assessments based on the task done prior to taking the test.