Does exercise make your brain stronger?

Does exercise make your brain stronger?

Does exercise make your brain stronger? The answer is yes, according to a new study by scientists from NYU Langone Medical Center.

There is already a lot of evidence that the exercise may make the brain stronger.

As written in a Harvard Health Letter:

Exercise is known to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors – chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”

What is not fully known is the actual mechanisms of how exercise directly affects brain functions for the better.

During the new one month study, researchers compared two groups of mice. Half the mice were housed in cages with exercise wheels, while the other half did not have exercise wheels.

The researchers then observed levels of a protein in the brains of the different groups called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. BDNF is often called “Miracle-Gro” for the brain, because it it key to helping the brain grow.

The NYU researchers found that BDNF levels were higher in the mice with exercise wheels, compared to the mice without wheels, who showed sedentary habits.

According to senior investigator Moses Chao, Ph.D., “We believe that our study shows a precise biological mechanism behind increased BDNF production in mammals due to exercise. Unraveling the mysteries of BDNF is important as we seek more ways to naturally keep mammalian brains healthy, including those of people.”

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REFERENCES:
1. “Early Enriched Environment Induces an Increased Conversion of ProBDNF to BDNF in the Adult Rat’s Hippocampus.” ScienceDirect. Behavioural Brain Research, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2016.
2. “Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills.” Harvard Health Blog. Harvard Health Publications, 05 Apr. 2016. Web. 07 Sept. 2016.
3. “Exercise Promotes the Expression of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) through the Action of the Ketone Body β-hydroxybutyrate.” ELife. ELife, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2016.

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