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Biotech Science

Why Exercise Boosts Brainpower 331

aditi sends us a report from Reuters on research indicating that exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss. Quoting: "Tests on mice showed they grew new brain cells in a brain region called the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus that is known to be affected in the age-related memory decline that begins around age 30 for most humans. Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging scans to help document the process in mice — and then used MRIs to look at the brains of people before and after exercise. They found the same patterns, which suggests that people also grow new brain cells when they exercise."
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Why Exercise Boosts Brainpower

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  • Ballonee (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:29PM (#18335173) Journal
    I nevar work out and my brane wurks as well as ne1 elses!
  • AHA! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Poruchik ( 1004331 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:30PM (#18335195) Homepage
    That explains Schwartzenegger! (Doesn't explain Stallone though).
    • Re:AHA! (Score:5, Funny)

      by errxn ( 108621 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:32PM (#18335217) Homepage Journal
      It also explains most of the posts on /. as well.
      • Next Week (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 2names ( 531755 )
        Just week they will announce that they interpreted the data in reverse.

        How do I know this?

        Because 99% of the really smart people I've met in my life are big, fat, dope-smoking UNIX guys who think a treadmill is a place where corn is ground up to make tires.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by x2A ( 858210 )
          hmm, my experience is the oposite... the smarter people tend to be skinny. The fat ones are often at most very good at the one thing they sit on their ass doing all day.

        • by thc69 ( 98798 )

          treadmill is a place where corn is ground up to make tires.
          This is so funny that it almost made me choke on my peanut butter sandwich.

          Yes, that's right, I said peanut butter sandwich.
        • Re:Next Week (Score:4, Insightful)

          by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @03:38PM (#18337305) Journal

          Funny, 99% of the really smart people I know play sports in some form or the other (adventure sports, martial arts, traditional sports, running etc) and don't really believe in sitting down and spending every waking hour doing something related to their area of expertise.

          In fact, the *really* smart people I know tend to have a life (family, friends, sports, parties) and usually, it is the wannabes that I know who tend to fit the profile that you describe.

          And I have found out that a combination of good workout and good diet often helps me concentrate better and sleep better.

          For instance, cut yourself off from high sugar, caffeine and soda, eat salads and run 5 miles a day for a month and see how much your productivity increases. You'll find that you can do more, you sleep better and feel a lot healthier.

          Besides, sports are a great way to get rid of your frustration. For instance, I do a lot of rock-climbing, and nothing to make you feel better than an eight hour straight climbing session out there.
          • Re:Next Week (Score:4, Informative)

            by RockModeNick ( 617483 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @03:53PM (#18337553)
            But man, work up to 5 miles a day. You'll burn out and die if you go right to that, start with half a mile, and increase over a few months. As someone that went from a tech school background to running 3 miles every day(until sciatic nerve problems stopped me), I can say for sure your atrophied legs will want time to get started.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            "For instance, cut yourself off from high sugar, caffeine and soda, eat salads and run 5 miles a day for a month and see how much your productivity increases. You'll find that you can do more, you sleep better and feel a lot healthier."

            I don't know about you, but five miles a day eating salads and I'd feel a lot like killing myself.

            I don't spend a few hours every day exercising so I can eat rabbit food.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Good point. 5 miles day on salads is a recipe for disaster. Even if you're trying to lose weight you don't want to put yourself into that high of a caloric deficit. A better idea is just start eating healthier foods. No more fast food, cookies, chips, etc... Instead eat lots of veggies, unprocessed meats, unprocessed carbs, and some good fats. You'd be surprised how much of the good food you can eat before you hit your calorie target.

              Also, 5 miles/day isn't required to lose weight. In fact, if losing
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by metlin ( 258108 ) *
                I merely mentioned salads as an example of healthy food. You could eat grilled chicken salad for lunch and other lean foods which are rich in protein but are not calorie and fat heavy and stay healthy. In fact, you'd be amazed at the variety of salads that are available that are quite healthy and can sustain your body's needs. Hitting that calorie mark would be surprisingly hard.

                Secondly, I was mentioning 5 miles/day not to lose weight but to stay in shape - I run to improve my stamina (I'm a climber) and t
    • Hey, Stallone is an artist. Sample Artwork []

    • Stallone isn't dumb (Score:5, Informative)

      by gatorflux ( 759239 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:58PM (#18335733)
      Stallone is an accomplished script writer and a damned good businessman. Take a look at the deal he struck when he wrote and sold Rocky to the studio (he basically retained the rights to future sequels). Stallone has been able to fly under the radar because he sounds uneducated when he talks (due to an injury sustained at birth, if I remember correctly).
    • Stallone wrote and starred in an Oscar-winning movie []. I think you have to have a few brain cells to pull something like that off - What have you done that's so smart?
    • by ozbird ( 127571 )
      (Doesn't explain Stallone though).

      Growth hormones - he's facing court in Australia (delayed for six weeks) for illegal importation of 48 vials of Jintropin.
  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:33PM (#18335245)
    Wow, who would have thought that exersize actually improves your body in some way?
  • Back to Locke (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:33PM (#18335247) Homepage Journal
    So here we are, once again, with Locke's ideal of a sound mind in a sound body.

    The challenge for computer geeks: finding a way to merge exercise with mostly-sedentary hobbies and jobs. Perhaps it's a job for mobile computing: Set a tablet PC in front of a treadmill, and read Slashdot while running?
    • Re:Back to Locke (Score:4, Interesting)

      by svendsen ( 1029716 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:37PM (#18335329)
      The really sad thing is you only need 30 mins of exercise a day and cut back on junk food to lose weight, be healthy, etc. The amount of excuses I hear is pathetic. Walk, bike, lift, get into a sport, etc. Problem is so many people think the virtual world is a better place to be.
      • by Fifty Points ( 878668 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @02:00PM (#18335775)
        I walk my virtual dog around Second Life every day you insensitive clod!
      • The virtual world is a better place to be. I can seek out people of common interests. I can block people who are jerks. I'm judged by my ability to form cogent arguments rather than my appearance or speech.

        But, really, there's no reason you ever have to leave the virtual world. Most podcasts are about an hour long, which is plenty of time to get enough exercise. Plug in your earbuds and go for a walk. Turn around halfway through and do this three times a week. No need to leave the virtual world, and no nee

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Peddle powered Interwebs. The faster you peddle the more bandwidth you're allowed to use. Pirates would be the fittest people in the world!
    • How about DDR [] or EyeToy []?
      • by Rycross ( 836649 )
        Or Wii and Wii Sports. I'm doing an experiment with that right now. I figure, its probably not as good as running, but its something thats easier for me to stick to. And if its not that great, I can at least develop the exercise habits and move into something better.
      • DDR is too easy. The hardest songs top out at 10, and the average of the hardest difficulty over all songs is around 8.

        ITG tops out at 13, has hands/mines/rolls, and almost every song has an expert setting with a difficulty of at least 9. Plus, the average ITG arcade machine is of much higher quality than the average DDR machine.

        Besides that, everyone plays single...double is where it's at. It takes much more energy to move your center of mass back and forth across a distance of several feet than it does
    • by TrappedByMyself ( 861094 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:38PM (#18335369)
      I prefer furious masterbation
    • by hab136 ( 30884 )

      The challenge for computer geeks: finding a way to merge exercise with mostly-sedentary hobbies and jobs.

      Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii []
    • So here we are, once again, with Locke's ideal of a sound mind in a sound body.

      It's not just Locke that figured this out. Some of our greatest thinkers, warlords, martial arts masters, etc. have come up with the same conclusion. If this serves as "scientific proof" to something that has been known for ages then lets hope more people will get off their asses.

      • by dave562 ( 969951 )
        Nutritionists have figured it out too. I read something not too long ago about a study where they found out that the body will not actually use calcium to rebuild bones without exercise to put strain on the bones.
    • by dreamt ( 14798 )

      Set a tablet PC in front of a treadmill, and read Slashdot while running?
      While thats better than nothing, its still probably not as good as getting in front of that treadmill without reading. Odds pare pretty good that your heart rate isn't going to hit the 65%-85% range that you would get without needing to concentrate at looking down at a steady object with small print. It always kills me to see people on the treadmill, elypical, etc reading away and barely breaking a sweat.
      • by shmlco ( 594907 )
        iPods and Audible [] audiobooks make a great combination in that regard.
      • by Copid ( 137416 )

        It always kills me to see people on the treadmill, elypical, etc reading away and barely breaking a sweat.
        Well, those people are definitely burning calories and contributing to weight loss, but I agree, if they're able to go faster and actually work toward fitness they definitely should.
    • It's this simple: Bike to work.

      Ten years ago, I weighed 250 pounds. Today, I'm at about 175. (I don't keep accurate track anymore, but I do check every now and again.)

      I started by biking to school. On the first day, I had to stop about a dozen times. I didn't realize just how out of shape I had become. I stuck with it (the 4th day is the worst, since that's when you're the sorest.) and kept biking to school. I biked all the way through university, and I've been biking to work since graduating. (Electrical E
  • by pfortuny ( 857713 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:33PM (#18335251)
    I will develop some mouse cells in my brain?

    What's the catch? Have I missed something?

    Do I need more jogging?
  • FTA (Score:4, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:35PM (#18335293) Journal
    "Exercise generated blood flow to the dentate gyrus of the people, and the more fit a person got, the more blood flow the MRI detected, the researchers found."

    However, if your gym looks like this [] one shown in the article, I think the blood will flow elsewhere
    • by ranton ( 36917 )
      Are you kidding me? The gym I went to in college makes that picture look conservative. Made going to the gym just a little bit more enjoyable. Many women wear more clothes on the beach than they do in the gym. Thank god for that.

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:39PM (#18335381)
    That explains all those pro-quarterback particle theorists! "Gauge bosons are like running backs right? They gotta take the elemental forces of the universe to the end zone."
  • by negated ( 981743 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:48PM (#18335553)
    ...Stephen Hawking benchpresses bulldozers when no one is watching!
  • This sounds like a no brainer to me. The brain needs oxygen to make chemical and electrical reactions. The brain will get the most blood circulation, thus carrying the most fresh oxygen, during and after exercise. Furthermore lots of exercise promotes a healthy cardiovascular and central nervous system. Something that can only improve the brain.

    I know that after I complete a heavy lifting routine or a good cardio work out, I feel great for the rest of the day. I think clearer. I don't feel any craving

    • Also, regular exercise lifts depression, increases testosterone levels among males reduces risk of heart disease.

      Y'know, It's almost as if humans evolved to exercise regularly.

    • It's always funny to see how people that work-out assume that because it makes them feel good, it must make everyone feel good. This is usually followed up by some thinly veiled self-righteousness.

      People who don't exercise are often the way they are because exercise makes them feel HORRIBLE. Personally, I've tried to get into shape a number of times. But after three or four weeks of working out, I just can't take it anymore -- the pain, the exhaustion, the depression, the undirected feelings of anger,

  • by w33t ( 978574 ) * on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:54PM (#18335665) Homepage
    So if I couple the above article with this one [] then I can only assume that I am supposed to exercise and smoke a whole lot of pot while I do it.
  • Exercising causing a boost in long-term memory ability is not the same as making your IQ go up 20 points by going to the gym. Furthermore, sports/bodybuilding/etc don't have a high IQ requirement for entry, you basically just have to be able to put up with working out all the time. If pro football required a phd, then all pro football players would have a "phd" of some kind. It mostly requires being gigantic and being able to mentally retain some of the rules of football, so mostly that's what the player
  • write and construct an interface between my brain and Madden 2007.

    Minus the steroids, of course.
  • One increases your Brain Age and lets you socialize with your pets (DS), the other lets you get exercise indoors (Wii).

    But in most scientific studies, the things that consistently help ameliorate the effects of aging are: mild to moderate exercise (even walking up stairs or parking 2 blocks away), a varied diet high in vegetables and fruits, drinking red wine (men) or grape juice (anyone), and more education.
  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @02:27PM (#18336231)
    Dude, this sucks. A year and a half ago you guys said that cannabinoids induce brain growth [] and man, I've really been putting that theory to the test. But now you want me to exercise? I can't do both dude. And given a choice... I think I'll stick with the old news...
  • Good to know that every time I go clubbing, I balance out the cells that get blown away by dancing!
  • Most of us here have desk work for 8 hours/day - not counting 1-2 hours travel time on a bus. How do we get exercise in this situation?

    While I did find links to desk exercise websites, they are most frequently some simple stretches and not really much of an exercise.
    • Provided that your environment (i.e. weather, location, crime-rate) permits it, you could try walking 30 minutes a day at lunch...just pack a change of clothes and swap them out in the bathroom (bring deodorant and a towel, too). Even low-impact walking can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.

      Before I changed positions and moved offices, a friend of mine (also a trainer) had suggested to me that, though it would look funny, getting a large exercise ball to sit on at work in lieu of a chair
  • As a marathon runner over the years I have noticed something with new runners that show up at our winter-spring clinics who have recently or are trying to quit smoking. The ones that stick with the regime (about 16 weeks) that it takes to prep for a marathon I have repeatedly told me that they lose their nicotine craving almost totally, and that the running seems to be a big part of it. These are people who were previously quite hardcore smokers for a number of years. Could it be that running (and other
  • Getting exercise will actually increase your virility, boost your pheromone output and make you a little more dynamic in the bedroom, which then becomes a self-sustaining cycle, as love-making is a wonderful form of low-impact (if that's your style, of course) aerobic (and sometimes anaerobic) exercise!

    Geeks, nerds and dorks alike, lend me your ears! You too can have a hot, steamy social life for just 30 minutes a day!

    And as a free, no-cost-to-you-at-all bonus, if you act within the next few years, you may
  • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:53PM (#18341507) Homepage Journal
    Thats like great and all, but when is somebody going to do something about how fat I am?

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith