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How Exercise Strengthens Aged Brain

According to a fascinating new study of aged brain and aerobic exercise, exercise can change how important parts of the brain communicate with age and improve aspects of thinking and memory.The· A study involving older African AmericansFound that the disconnected parts of the memory center of the brain began to interact in complex and healthy new ways after regular exercise, sharpening memory function.

The findings broaden our understanding of what moving molds think and emphasize the importance of staying active, regardless of our age.

The idea that physical activity improves brain health is now well established. Experiments involving animals and people Show exercise increases hippocampal neurons. This is essential for the creation and preservation of memory, while at the same time improving thinking skills. In the elderly, Regular physical activity helps delay the normal loss of brain volume, This may help prevent age-related amnesia and reduce the risk of dementia.

There was also a hint that exercise could change the way distant parts of the brain speak between them.so 2016 MRI study, For example, researchers have found that different parts of the brain light up simultaneously among college runners, but not so brightly among sedentary students. This paired brain activity is thought to be a form of communication, allowing parts of the brain to work together to improve thinking skills, even if they do not share physical connections. .. In runners, there are syncs related to attention, decision making, and working memory, suggesting that running and fitness may have contributed to a keen spirit.

However, those students were young and healthy and faced an imminent threat of amnesia. Little was known about the squeaky person, whether or not to change the old brain communication system, how to change it, and how rewiring, if any, affects thinking.

So, in January, Mark Gluck, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, and his colleagues collaborated with a much older person’s brain for a new study published in January at the Neurobology of Learning and Memory. I decided to find out what happened in my mind. People when they start to work.

In particular, he wondered about their medial temporal lobe. This part of the brain contains the hippocampus and is the core of our memory center. Unfortunately, its internal work often begins to sputter with age, leading to poor thinking and memory. But Dr. Gluck suspected that the movement might change its trajectory.

Fortunately, as director of the Rutgers University Aging and Brain Health Alliance, he was already leading an ongoing exercise experiment. He and his collaborators worked with local churches and community centers to recruit older African-American men and women who previously tended to sit in the Newark region. Most of the volunteers were in their 60s and visited Dr. Gluck’s lab to check their health and fitness along with cognitive tests. Some have agreed to scan for brain activity.

Later, some began exercising, while others chose to become a sedentary control group. All initially shared similar fitness and memory functions. The exercise group attended a one-hour aerobic dance class twice a week for 20 weeks at a church or community center.

Dr. Gluck and his researcher, Neha Singha, have now invited 34 of the volunteers who completed previous brain scans to another, along with other colleagues. During that time, 17 people were exercising. The rest wasn’t. The group also repeated cognitive tests.

Scientists then began comparing and quickly noticed the subtle differences in the work of the exerciser’s brain. Their scans showed more synchronized activity across the medial temporal lobe than between sedentary groups, and this activity was more dynamic. Part of the exerciser’s robe lights up together and within seconds, readjusted with the other sections of the robe to light up. Dr. Gluck says that such indiscriminate synchronization shows some kind of youthful flexibility in the brain, as if the circuit were smoothly exchanging dance partners with the ball. The activist’s brain “flexibly reorganizes their connections,” he says, in a way that the sedentary group’s brain couldn’t.

Equally important, those changes have manifested themselves in people’s thoughts and memories. Exercisers performed better than ever before, testing their ability to learn, retain, and logically apply information in new situations. This type of agile thinking involves the medial temporal lobe and tends to decline with age, says Dr. Gluck. However, older exercisers scored higher than they were at the beginning, and exercisers with the newest interconnections in the brain outperformed other exercisers.

This study is aimed at older African-Americans, a group that is underestimated in health studies but does not represent all older people. Still, even with that warning, the “nerve flexibility” gained by exercising several times a week “directly leads to memory flexibility,” says Dr. Gluck.

How Exercise Strengthens Aged Brain

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