ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Eat Light - Live Longer
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Run for Your Life
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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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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