Build Your Muscles, Build Your Brain
An active lifestyle has benefits beyond the body. A new study suggests that being active can stimulate brain cell growth and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
German researchers put 30 adult female mice in an ''enriched environment'' that included toys, a running wheel and unlimited food and water for 10 months.
Compared to mice kept in cages, the active mice grew five times more new brain cells and showed fewer sign of age-related brain degeneration. They also were more curious about their surroundings and better able to learn new things.
''Our study suggests that, in mice, we can reduce the effects of aging on the brain with a sustained active and challenging life, even if this stimulation is only begun in middle age,'' writes Gerd Kempermann, M.D., lead author of the study.
While study results in mice don't always transfer to humans, Kempermann suggests that people who change their behavior because of this study ''will certainly do no harm'' and that ''they might even do something good for the brain cells that are involved in learning and memory processes.''
Source: Annals of Neurology, 2002; 52, 135-143
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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