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Earth Science News

Study Finds You Can Grow Brain Cells Through Exercise 99

phantomfive writes: Researchers have discovered that aerobic exercise may increase neurogenesis. Based on the results, rats that were put on a treadmill grew more brain cells than rats that didn't. Resistance training seemed to have no effect. This is significant, because the neuron reserve of the hippocampus can be increased, thus preconditions for learning for humans could be improved simply through aerobic exercise.
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Study Finds You Can Grow Brain Cells Through Exercise

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  • by peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! ( 2743031 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @03:31AM (#51476981)

    Brain cells and associated nerve connections are necessary to operate muscles. If you exercise more, or perhaps even hone a skill associated with exercise (playing basketball or tennis perhaps), then you would also expect the brain to grow connections associated with these activities.

    So yes, the brain grows. Does it make a person smarter? Not necessarily, it makes a person more able to move that muscle with finer control.

    Also, this seems to be a repeat of the same study in the past, though its first occurrence on /.?:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/study-people-who-exercise-have-larger-brains-later-in-life/264017/ [theatlantic.com]

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2013/10/13/how-exercise-makes-your-brain-grow/#18d2c88248c1 [forbes.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > In rodents, the hippocampus has been studied extensively as part of a brain system responsible for spatial memory and navigation. Many neurons in the rat and mouse hippocampus respond as place cells: that is, they fire bursts of action potentials when the animal passes through a specific part of its environment. Hippocampal place cells interact extensively with head direction cells, whose activity acts as an inertial compass, and conjecturally with grid cells in the neighboring entorhinal cortex.

      https:

    • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @04:14AM (#51477095)

      Brain cells and associated nerve connections are necessary to operate muscles. If you exercise more, or perhaps even hone a skill associated with exercise (playing basketball or tennis perhaps), then you would also expect the brain to grow connections associated with these activities.

      so why then doesn't this work for 'resistance' training? After all, you are exercising muscles.

    • If this were true, weightlifters would have larger brains than aerobic exercisers (since they use upper and lower, not just lower like aerobic).

      • Does this mean that we're going to see our senators and representatives doing Japanese style mass exercise sessions every morning with weights? After all, if there is one thing in this divided country that most folks agree on, it is that many of our elected representatives could use a few more brain cells.

    • Jocks are Junkies too, lol.

    • You are confusing neurogenesis and strengthening of neural pathways. Muscle memory is increasing the strength of connections between neurons and neurogenesis is the birth of new neurons. Strengthening neural pathways does not make your brain "grow."
    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @10:54AM (#51478581) Journal

      In my research of nootropics, I came across Noopept.

      Noopept is considered one of the most powerful nootropics, a thousand times stronger than Piracetam. Among other things, Noopept increases BNF and BDNF in the brain. These chemicals power neurogenesis, encouraging the formation of new brain cells and greatly increasing neuroplasticity.

      What does "greatly increasing" mean?

      Scientists test rats with many apparatuses. Most of these are repetitive tools, like a pool of water with a few small, hidden platforms (you drop the rat in to drown, and it panics and seeks out the platform; then you repeat the trial, leaving or moving the platforms, reorienting the device, or whatnot, to see if the rat can recognize environment cues or apply an efficient search algorithm). One of the most useful tools is a simple T maze, in which corridors abruptly meet a wall with a choice of left or right alternate path.

      Rats navigating the T maze eventually find food at the end. In repeated trials, rats learn the topology of the maze, eventually running to the end of the T maze by the most direct path. This essentially tests rat memory.

      Rats run on a wheel for 10 minutes before and after running a T maze *consistently* learn the maze in half as many trials as a control group of rats kept lazy in cage.

      The source of this increase in learning speed? An increase in BNF and BDNF in the brain.

      Bicycling, running, jumping jacks, whatnot. These things will exercise you. The exercise temporarily increases BNF and BDNF levels measurable in human blood serum. Like the rats, the humans become significantly more intelligent.

      This study doesn't surprise me. I already knew this shit.

    • Brain cells and associated nerve connections are necessary to operate muscles. If you exercise more, or perhaps even hone a skill associated with exercise (playing basketball or tennis perhaps), then you would also expect the brain to grow connections associated with these activities.

      So yes, the brain grows. Does it make a person smarter? Not necessarily, it makes a person more able to move that muscle with finer control.

      The summary said that resistance training had "no effect", so it's not entirely a case of exercising your nerves. More plausible is that aerobic exercise increases the amount of oxygen or at least the blood flow to the head, providing the cells there with more material or fuel for growing.

      Okay, time to read the article.

    • I wonder if it has more to do with boredom and activity than aerobic exercise...

    • Yes that is what the article says, improves learning in those task areas, not in general. The take away message here is that the brain is "plastic" and different activities can change it in beneficial ways therefore if we know what they are and factor them into our lifestyles we may have our brains maintain their level of functionality for longer than if we did not.
  • So people who are both stupid and aerobically exercise are that dumb even *after* they're cheating?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So people who are both stupid and aerobically exercise are that dumb even *after* they're cheating?

      There is no proven cure for Stupid, only for ignorant.

  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by neo8750 ( 566137 ) <zepski@zepskiQUOTE.net minus punct> on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @03:58AM (#51477049) Homepage
    I'm screwed then. *gets more settled in his seat*
    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      Well, I guess this is my chance to... wait... why am I here again? What article were we talking about? Meh, guess I'll have a snickers.
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @04:18AM (#51477103)

    So, they're saying I can get smarter by logging off of slashdot and going outside?

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @04:27AM (#51477123)
    This is very interesting, but part of the article mentions that some rats were more predispositioned to benefit than others through genetics. If that applies to humans as well, that means this running will benefit only some of us with an increased hippocampus size. However, one should be getting aerobic exercise anyway, although many of us don't; the health benefits are well worth it.
    • Maybe. It's possible that some rats are more predisposed to see this particular brain benefit, or it could be that some rats are more predisposed to receive benefits in general from aerobic exercise.

      We all hear the litany of reasons for aerobic exercise -- cardiovascular benefits, mental health, insulin response, and so on. The statistical association is overwhelming. But we also all know people who don't exercise and still score well on these factors, as well as people who do exercise and still fall victim

  • Funny how results from animal experiments end up getting generalized.
    • No it's not. Rats are used because they share a lot in common with humans. That's why studies can be generalized to humans. However, human studies need to be conducted to know if the results hold.

      Lot of ignorant people who can't be bother to read the article let alone done any simple searches.
  • I'll believe it once its been replicated by another team somewhere else. So sick of press releases.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Several people are linking to new articles from a few years ago. This information has been known since the 90s. Running has been shown to enhance neurogenesis and learning. Interesting enough spending time with a creative group of people expressing your ideas also promotes neurogenesis. It appears the key to health and well being is exercise and good social connections.

  • I know I got lots of ideas while watching the 20 Minute Workout [youtube.com] back in the 1980s.
  • This is the reason that so many gym teachers have doctorates.
  • Why is it always the hard stuff like exercise? Why is it never, "You can grow brain cells through drinking and watching porn"?

    Life ain't fair.

  • What about anaerobic exercise? Technically it should be the reverse as you are starving your whole system of oxygen.

    Or are they afraid of pointing out that running at 90% output or higher for extended periods of time is actually very very bad for you.

  • The administration of Gov Rick Snyder is under lot of fire for its lacklustre response to the crisis in Flint. The residents are still being asked to walk to the local fire station to pick their daily ration of water bottles. Today his spokesman vigorously pushed back claiming it is according to plan. He said, "The latest research shows aerobic exercises improve the brain cell count and the children with lead affected brains need to get all the exercise they can get to get back on track. This is how the adm
  • Study Finds Rats Can Grow Brain Cells Through Exercise FTFY Unless you are a rat the study doesn't show that you can grow brain cells through exercise.
  • some things about those who do nothing but lift weights.
  • Some people use all available brain cells for dumb thinking. Having more brain cells doesn't make them smarter, it would expand their capabilities in stupidity.

  • ...does not agree with the results of this study.

  • Says that scientist that gym company just hired...

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