November 10, 2003
Newswire) -- A new study shows exercise may allow for better brain
development and may cause a person to become more mentally engaged.
Researchers from the
Oregon Health and Science University studied 24 primates to determine
if exercise causes physical changes in the brain. Researchers
say they used monkeys for their study because they did not want
environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, and obesity to
play a role.
The animals were separated
into three groups. The first group exercised on treadmills five
days a week for 20 weeks. The second group did not exercise at
all. The third group exercised for 20 weeks and then became sedentary.
Researchers measured the volume of small blood vessels in the
brains of all three groups.
Results of the study
show monkeys that exercised had a higher brain capillary volume
than those that did not exercise. Researchers say changes were
most noticeable in animals that were “less fit” at
the start of the study. Judy Cameron, Ph.D., from the OHSU Oregon
National Primate Research Center, says, “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.”
Researchers also found
that animals in the exercise group were more alert than those
in the control group. During one training session, monkeys who
exercised learned how to take a performance test much quicker
than those that did not exercise. Cameron concludes, “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 article was reported
by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day
of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
SOURCE: The Annual
Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans, Nov. 8,
article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts
by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.naturallyherbs.com/alerts.shtml.