Gain for the brain

The latest study in a growing body of research into the neuroprotective effects of physical exercise has been published this week in the Journal of Neurology and highlighted by the BBC. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques to study gray and white matter volumes and white matter integrity in the brains of 691 adults in their 70s.

Even when covariates such as age, social class and health status were controlled for, higher levels of physical activity were associated with less brain atrophy and more coherent white matter tracts in the brain in this sample.

jumpThis study supports a neuroprotective effect of physical exercise in the human brain but does not shed much light on the mechanisms behind this effect. In connection with the Generation 100 project currently being conducted by CERG, researchers from the Trondheim fMRI group are carrying out a sub study investigating the effects of physical exercise on cognition in 70-75 year olds. Like the study described above, MRI images of the brain will be taken at the start of the study and after one and three years of exercise training of either moderate or high intensity. However, the “Cognition in Generation 100” study will not just look at brain structure. Smell tests will form part of the study, since loss of odor identification abilities is an early sign of cognitive impairment and dementia in aging. In addition, a range of well-validated cognitive tests and questionnaires about memory and mood will be used to gather new information about which aspects of memory and cognition may be affected by fitness levels and physical activity in this age group.

Written by Helen Palmer, researcher at CERG.

About these ads

2 thoughts on “Gain for the brain

  1. I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be what precisely I’m
    looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome weblog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s