Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | exercise | brain | power

Exercise Found to Pump Up Brainpower: Study

By    |   Friday, 15 Nov 2013 11:52 AM

Hit the gym, boost your brainpower. That's the primary message of a new study of seniors by the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas.
 
The findings, published online in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, indicate engaging in a physical exercise helps healthy older adults improve their memory and brain health, as well as their physical fitness.
 
"Science has shown that aging decreases mental efficiency and memory decline is the No. 1 cognitive complaint of older adults," said lead researcher Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth. "This research shows the tremendous benefit of aerobic exercise on a person's memory and demonstrates that aerobic exercise can reduce both the biological and cognitive consequences of aging."
 
For the study, researchers divided a group of sedentary adults, ages 57-75, into two groups. The first engaged in physical training including supervised aerobic exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill for one hour, three times a week for 12 weeks. The second did not exercise.
Participants' cognition, resting cerebral blood flow, and cardiovascular fitness were assessed at the beginning of the study, after 6 weeks, and after three months.
 
The results showed seniors in the exercise group demonstrated improvements in memory, and had a greater increase in brain blood flow to the hippocampus, the key brain region affected by Alzheimer's disease, as measured by brain scans.
 
"By measuring brain blood flow [in the brain], we can now begin to detect brain changes much earlier than before," said Sina Aslan, founder and president of Advance MRI and a collaborator on the study. "One key region where we saw increase in brain blood flow was the anterior cingulate, indicating higher neuronal activity and metabolic rate. The anterior cingulate has been linked to superior cognition in late life."
 
Chapman said the findings have significant implications for the growing number of Americans turning 65.
 
"Physical exercise may be one of the most beneficial and cost-effective therapies widely available to everyone to elevate memory performance," Chapman said. "These findings should motivate adults of all ages to start exercising aerobically."
 
The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

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Hit the gym, boost your brainpower. That's the primary message of a new study of seniors by the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas.
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2013-52-15
Friday, 15 Nov 2013 11:52 AM
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