Monday, August 13, 2012

Exercise Can Boost Memory and Restore Nerve Synapses

Old rats are generally not so good at recognizing places, and this deficiency in turn appears to be due to a loss in nerve synapses in the hippocampus. But 12 weeks of voluntary running was found to restore both recognition-memory and hippocampus nerve synapses in them. So reported Michael Valenzuela, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney in Australia, and his coworkers July 16 in Biological Psychiatry.

Exercise appears to benefit the brains of humans as well, another study has shown. It was conducted on cognitively normal subjects aged 45 to 88. In that study, individuals who exercised at or above levels recommended by the American Heart Association had lower levels of amyloid plaques—the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease—in their brains than did individuals who exercised less. The exercise benefit also extended to individuals who carried the APOE-e4 variant, which is a well-documented risk factor for Alzheimer's.

To learn more about the relationship between exercise and Alzheimer's plaques, see Psychiatric News.
(Image: Zhabska Tetyana/