This summer I conducted research on the effects of exercise and recovery after a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). A TIA event is very similar to a stroke, patients experience symptoms such as numbness, facial drooping, and blurred vision. These symptoms are significantly shorter in duration compared to a regular stroke and occur without bleeding to internal brain structures. The goal of my research project was to investigate how lifestyle factors such as frequency, duration, and type of exercise influence recovery after a TIA. More specifically, my project investigates how exercise influences cognitive deficits after a TIA and uses various tests for cognition such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test (MOCA) to do so. Since TIAs are known to be predictors for strokes in the future, understanding how exercise effects the recovery process is essential for doctors considering prescribing physical therapy interventions or exercise programs as treatment. While the data from our project is still preliminary, I have learned much about the physiological mechanisms behind exercise and cognition. I have created a review of the scientific literature from 2017 and on that discusses exercise and its role in cognition. The studies indicate that a gap in research for mini strokes exist, but exercise does seem to illicit positive benefits on recovery after stroke. Overall, this research has helped me better understand how the brain functions and has exposed me to how physicians treat specific neurological conditions. The skills that I have gained will also help me in my future career in medicine.
To see my poster, please visit Penn Presents: https://presentations.curf.upenn.edu/poster/effects-physical-activity-re...