Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brain Benefits of Exercise May Fade When Exercise Period Ends

Studies presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience suggest the "brain benefits" of exercise don't last long once the exercise ends. According to a story in yesterday's New York Times, researchers in Sao Paulo, Brazil, have shown that rats who exercise are much better at tests of memory than their sedentary counterparts, but those advantages fade quickly once they stop exercising. After three to six weeks of inactivity, the mental advantages had disappeared, perhaps indicating that exercise-induced benefits are at best transient.

Another group of researchers, this one from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, reported at the same meeting that rats who ran regularly for 10 weeks but were then inactive for three weeks had brains that were almost indistinguishable from those of rats that had never exercised. "This is analogous to what happens to muscle bulk or heart rate following exercise withdrawal," Michael Mazurek, M.D., a professor in the Division of Neurology at McMaster University who oversaw the study, told the Times.

Recent research has also shown that exercise can reduce the number of amyloid plaques in the brain, which might help ward off Alzheimer's disease. Read more about that study in Psychiatric News here.

(Image: wavebreakmedia/


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.