Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Exercise boosts brainpower

Malcolm at Castle Rock, belayed by JanieWant more brainpower? Exercise. Makes sense to me, since the brain is another part of the body, and the body functions more efficiently when one takes care of it. (And yes, that is me in the pic, at the bottom belaying the climber.)

"Exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss, U.S. researchers reported Monday.
Tests on mice showed they grew new brain cells in a brain region called the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus that is known to be affected in the age-related memory decline that begins around age 30 for most humans.
The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging scans to help document the process in mice -- and then used MRIs to look at the brains of people before and after exercise.
They found the same patterns, which suggests that people also grow new brain cells when they exercise."

"They recruited 11 healthy adults and made them undergo a three-month aerobic exercise regimen.
They did MRIs of their brains before and after. They also measured the fitness of each volunteer by measuring oxygen volume before and after the training program.
Exercise generated blood flow to the dentate gyrus of the people, and the more fit a person got, the more blood flow the MRI detected, the researchers found.
"The remarkable similarities between the exercise-induced cerebral blood volume changes in the hippocampal formation of mice and humans suggest that the effect is mediated by similar mechanisms," they wrote.
"Our next step is to identify the exercise regimen that is most beneficial to improve cognition and reduce normal memory loss, so that physicians may be able to prescribe specific types of exercise to improve memory," Small said."

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