Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

OHSU researchers study physical and mental impacts of exercise on the brain

10.11.2003


Workouts may result in increased blood flow to the brain, allow a person to be more mentally engaged



Exercise appears to allow for better blood vessel development in the brain and allow a person to be more mentally engaged. Those are the conclusions of a study partially conducted by Oregon Health & Science University researchers. The results will be presented Saturday Nov. 8 at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.

"While we already know that exercise is good for the heart and reduces the incidence of obesity, this study shows exercise can literally cause physical changes in the brain," explained Judy Cameron, Ph.D., a scientist in the divisions of Reproductive Sciences and Neuroscience at the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center. "Furthermore, we believe the study results show exercise causes a person to be more ’engaged’ and provides another reason for Americans to make physical activity part of their daily regimen. This is especially true in the case of older Americans with whom decline in mental function over time is a common occurrence."


For this research project, scientists had to come up with a novel way to study exercise. They required conditions where extraneous environmental factors that could impact brain function were limited as much as possible. These factors include smoking, obesity and drinking, tendencies commonly found but difficult to regulate in human studies. To limit the effect of these factors on study results, researchers chose to conduct the research using nonhuman primates.

In all, 24 monkeys participated in the studies. The animals were separated into three groups: a "running" group, which exercised on treadmills for a set distance five days a week for 20 weeks. A second group did not exercise during this period, and a third group exercised for 20 weeks and then remained sedentary.

Following the exercise period, scientists then measured the volume of small blood vessels, called capillaries, in the motor cortex region of the brain in all three animal groups.

"What we found was a higher brain capillary volume in those monkeys who exercised than in those monkeys who did not. Specifically, changes were most noted in older animals that were ’less fit’ at the start of the study," said Cameron. "The next step of this research is to determine whether other areas of the brain undergo physical changes. For instance, how are brain cells affected and does that impact cognitive performance?"

In the case of the mental performance study, scientists initially set out to determine if exercise impacted cognitive function or mood. For this study, scientists utilized several evaluation methods,including performance testing. One example is a test where a treat is placed under two toys. After a brief delay, the monkey was allowed to find the treat.

"Tests showed that animals in the exercise group were more aroused, alert and engaged than animals in the control group," said Cameron. However, it’s important to note that both groups had essentially the same success rate. While more research needs to be done, this study did not demonstrate a relationship between exercise and increased cognitive function."

Another important finding occurred during a training exercise in which monkeys learned how to do the performance test. In this case, the exercise group animals learned how to do the test at a much faster rate.

In regard to both studies, scientists believe they have developed a very useful animal model for future studies on exercise and mental impacts.



Collaborators on the research included William T. Greenough, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois who directed the blood vessel studies; exercise physiologist Nancy I. Williams, Sc.D., of Pennsylvania State University; Henry Lange, Joan Bytheway and Kristin McCormick from the University of Pittsburgh; and visiting scientist Im Joo Rhyu of The Beckman Institute.

The ONPRC is a registered research institution, inspected regularly by the United States Department of Agriculture. It operates in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and has an assurance of regulatory compliance on file with the National Institutes of Health. The ONPRC also participates in the voluntary accreditation program overseen by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).

Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>