ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Free Range
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Eat Light - Live Longer
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Add your Article

Exercise Keeps the Brain Young

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In experiments in mice, exercise appears to reverse the decline in the production of brain stem cells usually seen with aging, Taiwanese researchers report.

This remarkable restoration of the brain's ability to stave off aging appears to be due to exercise's ability to restore a neurochemical that is essential for the production of new brain cells.

"As we age, the ability of producing new neurons is decreasing. However, moderate running can improve the production, survival and maturation of new neurons in the brain," said lead researcher Yu-Min Kuo, an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the National Cheng Kung University Medical College in Tainan. "The younger one starts to run, the better."

The report is published in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

For the study, Kuo's team trained young, adult, middle-aged and old mice to run on a treadmill for up to an hour a day. The researchers then looked at the ability of the brain to continue to produce neural cells.

In middle-aged mice, the number of neural progenitor and mitotic cells in the hippocampus, a brain region intimately associated with learning and memory, decreased dramatically, Kuo explained.

"Compared to the sedentary middle-aged mice, moderate treadmill running not only doubled the production of neural stem cells but also enhanced the survival and growth of the newborn neurons," Kuo said. "Running had a more pronounced effect on younger animals than older counterparts."

The researchers found that this phenomenon could not be explained by an increase in a hormone called corticosterone, as they had speculated.

Rather, moderate running increased the concentrations of brain-derived neuron growth factor and its receptor, TrkB, in the hippocampus, while the level of corticosterone in mice stayed constant, Kuo said.

"The production of neural stem cells in the hippocampus decreases dramatically by middle age, and moderate running exercise can slow this trend," Kuo said. "Chronic moderate running enhances the production of neurotrophic factor, which promotes neurogenesis, and the differentiation and survival of newborn neurons."

Paul Sanberg, director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, concurs that exercise could promote the growth of new brain stem cells in people.

"This provides more understanding of its potential in humans," Sanberg said. "That there is a significant effect in middle-aged animals suggests that in middle-aged people that this would also occur."

There needs to be more data in humans to see if the growth of new brain cells has an effect on cognitive ability, Sanberg noted. "But it's encouraging the continued use of exercise to maintain health and proper health of our brain," he said.

More information

For more information on the aging brain, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.



SOURCES: Yu-Min Kuo, Ph.D., associate professor, department of cell biology and anatomy, National Cheng Kung University Medical College, Tainan, Taiwan; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor, neurosurgery, and director, University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa; November 2008 Journal of Applied Physiology

Last Updated: Nov. 21, 2008

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