Mouse studies link physical exercise to increased synapses

  • A mouse study has found that a hormone released during physical activity protects synapses in the hippocampus.
  • Another mouse study found that short bursts of exercise promotes an increase in synapses in the hippocampus.

How exercise may protect against Alzheimer's

Previous research uncovered a hormone called irisin that is released into the circulation during physical activity, and appeared to play a role in energy metabolism. Mice studies have now found that irisin protected memory and synapses in the brain — disabling irisin in the hippocampus resulted in synapses and memory weakening; boosting brain levels of irisin improved synapses and memory.

Mice who swam nearly every day for five weeks didn’t develop memory impairment despite getting infusions of beta amyloid — however, blocking irisin completely eliminated the benefits of swimming.

Samples from brain banks have confirmed that irisin is present in the human hippocampus and that hippocampal levels of the hormone are reduced in those with Alzheimer's.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/cuim-hem020819.php

Short bouts of exercise prime the brain for learning

A mouse study found that short-term bursts of exercise (equivalent to a game of pickup basketball, or 4,000 steps) activated a gene (Mtss1L) that promotes an increase in synapses in the hippocampus — which primes the brain for learning.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-07/ohs-sra070219.php

Reference: 

Lourenco, M. V., Frozza, R. L., de Freitas, G. B., Zhang, H., Kincheski, G. C., Ribeiro, F. C., … De Felice, F. G. (2019). Exercise-linked FNDC5/irisin rescues synaptic plasticity and memory defects in Alzheimer’s models. Nature Medicine, 25(1), 165–175. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-018-0275-4

Chatzi, C., Zhang, Y., Hendricks, W. D., Chen, Y., Schnell, E., Goodman, R. H., & Westbrook, G. L. (2019). Exercise-induced enhancement of synaptic function triggered by the inverse BAR protein, Mtss1L. ELife, 8, e45920. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.45920

Related News

A mouse study has found that obese mice had high levels of interleukin 1 in both their blood and their brains, and this was associated with:

As many of you will know, I like nature-improves-mind stories.

Data from the very large, long-running UK National Child Development Study has revealed that those who exercised at least four times weekly as both a child and an adult performed better on cognitive tests at age 50 than those who exercised two to three times per month or less, and the latter

Previous research has pointed to an association between not having teeth and a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. One reason might have to do with inflammation — inflammation is a well-established risk factor, and at least one study has linked gum disease to a higher dementia risk.

A study using data from the Lothian Birth Cohort (people born in Scotland in 1936) has analyzed brain scans of 638 participants when they were 73 years old.

I’ve reported before on the growing evidence that metabolic syndrome in middle and old age is linked to greater risk of cognitive impairment in old age and faster decline.

The study involved 120 healthy older adults (60-79) from Shanghai, who were randomly assigned to one of four groups: one that participated in three sessions of tai chi every week for 40 weeks; another that instead had ‘social interaction’ sessions (‘lively discussions’); another in which partici

A study designed to compare the relative benefits of exercise and diet control on Alzheimer’s pathology and cognitive performance has revealed that while both are beneficial, exercise is of greater benefit in reducing Alzheimer’s pathology and cognitive impairment.

More findings from the long-running Mayo Clinic Study of Aging reveal that using a computer plus taking moderate exercise reduces your risk of mild cognitive impairment significantly more than you would expect from simply adding together these two beneficial activities.

I’ve talked before about Dr Berman’s research into Attention Restoration Theory, which proposes that people concentrate better after nature walks or even just looking at nature scenes.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news