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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #179989

Title: EATING OR SKIPPING BREAKFAST: EFFECTS ON RESTING EEG ACTIVITY AND HEART RATE

Author
item PIVIK, R
item DYKMAN, ROSCOE
item BADGER, THOMAS

Submitted to: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2005
Publication Date: 3/4/2005
Citation: Pivik, R.T., Dykman, R.A., Badger, T.M. 2005. Eating or skipping breakfast: effects on resting EEG activity and heart rate. The FASEB Journal. 19(4):A434.

Interpretive Summary: Nutritional state is thought to influence level of arousal and arousal is an important variable cognitive function and learning performance. The purpose of this study was to determine whether eating breakfast would result in a higher level of arousal during the morning in children and therefore make them more attentive and capable of learning more efficiently. Changes in resting brain activity and heart rate were used as measures of arousal. Healthy 8-11 year old children fed breakfast showed evidence of increased arousal as indicated by more high frequency brain activity and faster heart rate. This study is part of a larger and on-going research program to identify dietary factors that are important for learning in children and this study is part of understanding how the USDA school breakfast program affects learning.

Technical Abstract: An adequate level of arousal is fundamental to efficient performance and cognitive functioning, and nutritional variables can influence arousal. The effects of morning nutrition on measures of arousal [EEG and heart rate (HR)] were studied in healthy right-handed children (8-11 yrs. old; IQ > 80) recorded (5-min resting, eyes-open) the morning following overnight fasting, first in a fasted state, then after eating a breakfast based on School Breakfast Program requirements (n=39; 19 males) or while continuing to fast (n=40; 18 males). Artifact-free recordings were digitized and analyzed for frequency composition (EEG) and beats/min (heart rate). Measures of sleep (overnight actigraphy) and blood glucose concentrations were also obtained. Groups were similar in sleep amount and efficiency. Relative to initial fasting measures, post-treatment recordings indicated: 1) significant increases (p<.01) in frontal and occipital high frequency beta activity in fed, but not fasting children; and, 2) increased (p<.01) heart rate in the fed relative to the fasting group. These findings indicate facilitating effects of a school breakfast on arousal measures.