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1.  Aerobic fitness is associated with greater efficiency of the network underlying cognitive control in preadolescent children 
Neuroscience  2011;199:166-176.
This study examined whether individual differences in aerobic fitness are associated with differences in activation of cognitive control brain networks in preadolescent children. As expected, children performed worse on a measure of cognitive control compared to a group of young adults. However, individual differences in aerobic fitness were associated with cognitive control performance among children. Lower-fit children had disproportionate performance cost in accuracy with increasing task difficulty, relative to higher-fit children. Brain activation was compared between performance-matched groups of lower- and higher-fit children. Fitness groups differed in brain activity for regions associated with response execution and inhibition, task set maintenance, and top-down regulation. Overall, differing activation patterns coupled with different patterns of brain-behavior correlations suggest an important role of aerobic fitness in modulating task strategy and the efficiency of neural networks that implement cognitive control in preadolescent children.
PMCID: PMC3237764  PMID: 22027235
exercise; physical activity; aerobic fitness; executive control; fMRI; development
2.  Dietary baked-milk accelerates resolution of cow's milk allergy in children 
The majority (∼75%) of cow's milk-allergic children tolerate extensively heated-(baked-) milk products. Long-term effects of inclusion of dietary baked-milk have not been reported.
We report on the outcomes of children who incorporated baked-milk products into their diets.
Children evaluated for tolerance to baked-milk (muffin) underwent sequential food challenges to baked-cheese (pizza) followed by unheated-milk. Immunologic parameters were measured at challenge visits. The comparison group were matched to active subjects (using age, sex, and baseline milk-specific IgE) to evaluate the natural history of tolerance development.
Over a median of 37 months (range 8-75 months), 88 children underwent challenges at varying intervals (range 6-54 months). Among 65 subjects initially tolerant to baked-milk, 39 (60%) now tolerate unheated-milk, 18 (28%) tolerate baked-milk/baked-cheese and 8 (12%) chose to avoid milk strictly. Among the baked-milk-reactive subgroup (n=23), 2 (9%) tolerate unheated-milk, 3 (13%) tolerate baked-milk/baked-cheese, while the majority (78%) avoid milk strictly. Subjects who were initially tolerant to baked-milk were 28 times more likely to become unheated-milk-tolerant compared to baked-milk-reactive subjects (P<.001). Subjects who incorporated dietary baked-milk were 16 times more likely than the comparison group to become unheated-milk-tolerant (P<.001). Median casein IgG4 levels in the baked-milk-tolerant group increased significantly (P<.001); median milk IgE values did not change significantly.
Tolerance of baked-milk is a marker of transient IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy whereas reactivity to baked-milk portends a more persistent phenotype. The addition of baked-milk to the diet of children tolerating such foods appears to accelerate development of unheated-milk tolerance compared to strict avoidance.
Clinical implications
Addition of dietary baked-milk is safe, convenient, and well-accepted by patients. Prescribing baked-milk products to milk-allergic children represents an important shift in the treatment paradigm for milk allergy.
Capsule summary
The majority of cow's milk-allergic children tolerate extensively baked-milk products, which is a marker of transient IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy. Dietary baked-milk appears to accelerate development of unheated-milk tolerance compared to strict avoidance.
PMCID: PMC3151608  PMID: 21601913
cow's milk allergy; milk allergy; tolerance; extensively heated; baked; immunotherapy; immunomodulation
3.  Association between Short Sleep Duration and the Risk of Sensitization to Food and Aero Allergens in Rural Chinese Adolescents 
Both long and short sleep duration have been associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. However, there have been no previous studies investigating the potential relationship between altered sleep duration and allergen sensitization.
To explore the association between sleep duration and sensitization to food and aeroallergens.
This study includes 1534 rural Chinese adolescent twins aged 12 to 21 years who completed standard sleep questionnaires and skin prick tests (SPTs) to 9 food and 5 aeroallergens. Total sleep time was defined as the interval from bedtime to wake-up time minus sleep latency. Sensitization was defined as having at least one positive SPT.
Compared to individuals with the highest (3rd) tertile of sleep duration, those who slept less were more likely to be sensitized to any food allergen with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.9 (95% confidence interval(CI):1.3–2.7) and 1.4 (95%CI:1.0–1.9) for the 1st and 2nd tertiles (trend test Ptrend=3×10−4), respectively. The corresponding ORs for sensitization to any aeroallergen were 1.5 (95%CI: 1.1–2.0) and 1.3 (95%CI:1.0–1.7) (Ptrend=8×10−3). These associations were independent of percent body fat. In addition, we observed a significant dose-response association between the number of positive SPTs and percentage of shortest sleep duration (1st tertile) (Ptrend=1×10−3).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
In this sample of relatively lean rural Chinese adolescents, we found that short sleep duration was associated with increased risk of sensitization to food and aeroallergens, independent of percent body fat. Longitudinal studies are needed to further determine the temporal and causal relationships. If short sleep duration indeed is one of the risk factors for allergic sensitization, the global burden of allergic diseases could be dramatically reduced by providing appropriate guidance on sleep duration for youth.
PMCID: PMC3056931  PMID: 21255141
sleep duration; skin prick test; allergen; sensitization; adolescent
4.  Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Attentional Control in the Aging Brain 
A growing body of literature provides evidence for the prophylactic influence of cardiorespiratory fitness on cognitive decline in older adults. This study examined the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and recruitment of the neural circuits involved in an attentional control task in a group of healthy older adults. Employing a version of the Stroop task, we examined whether higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with an increase in activation in cortical regions responsible for imposing attentional control along with an up-regulation of activity in sensory brain regions that process task-relevant representations. Higher fitness levels were associated with better behavioral performance and an increase in the recruitment of prefrontal and parietal cortices in the most challenging condition, thus providing evidence that cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with an increase in the recruitment of the anterior processing regions. There was a top-down modulation of extrastriate visual areas that process both task-relevant and task-irrelevant attributes relative to the baseline. However, fitness was not associated with differential activation in the posterior processing regions, suggesting that fitness enhances attentional function by primarily influencing the neural circuitry of anterior cortical regions. This study provides novel evidence of a differential association of fitness with anterior and posterior brain regions, shedding further light onto the neural changes accompanying cardiorespiratory fitness.
PMCID: PMC3024830  PMID: 21267428
cardiorespiratory fitness; Stroop task; cognitive and attentional control

Results 1-4 (4)