Thursday, August 2, 2007

Another benefit of mental and physical exercise: Decreasing schizophrenia symptoms?

As if we didn't already have enough reasons to exerise our minds and bodies.

From physorg:
Dr Anthony Hannan, along with Dr Caitlin McOmish, Emma Burrows and colleagues, characterised a genetically altered mouse and discovered that it had schizophrenia-like behaviours, including learning and memory problems, the inability to process complex information, and abnormal responses to particular sensory stimuli.
The scientists found the mouse’s condition significantly improved by simply giving them enhanced mental and physical exercise – putting running wheels in their cages, plus interesting items to smell, see and touch.
Not only did the mouse’s schizophrenia-like symptoms ease through this environmental enrichment, but a specific chemical transmitter pathway found to be abnormal in the cerebral cortex of the mice was selectively rescued.
This makes sense, since we know that schizophrenia is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. For identical twins (twins with identical DNA), if one twin is schizophrenic, the other twin has a 50% chance of also becoming schizophrenic.

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