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Reported November 10, 2003

Exercise Affects Alertness

(Ivanhoe 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, 2003

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.naturallyherbs.com/alerts.shtml.


 

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