Exercise the body, build the brain

The University of NSW reports that researchers have, for the first time, isolated exercise as the key factor in triggering the production of functional new cells in the learning and memory centre of the brain. Leading international neuroscientist, Dr Henriette van Praag’s research has demonstrated a causal link between exercise and brain regeneration, or neurogenesis, in the brains of mice. She says the results raise crucial questions about the potential of exercise to maximise cognitive function in humans throughout life and to build a brain “buffer” to hold off neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “What is most exciting is that a cheap, simple, lifestyle intervention like exercise can influence the production and integrity of new nerve cells in the brain, which suggests our behavioural choices have influence over the functionality of our brains. “Exercising mice added the most new brain cells when they were young, so it would seem that being young and active is a very good thing for cognitive development,” she says.
http://www.unsw.edu.au/news/pad/articles/2011/sep/BrainSciences_praag.html