Posted on Jul 05, 2019, 2 p.m.
A study from Oregon Health and Science University suggest using a treadmill every morning may improve brain function, even if only used for a short period of time.
Mtss1L gene has been identified in mice to be activated by short bursts of exercise, and this gene is similar to human genes that act to ready the brain for learning; Mtss1L improves connections between neurons in the hippocampus associated with learning and memory.
Regular exercise has been shown to promote general brain health, but the parts of the brain that are enhances and how they are improved by exercise have been hard to isolate.
“Previous studies of exercise almost all focus on sustained exercise. As neuroscientists, it’s not that we don’t care about the benefits on the heart and muscles but we wanted to know the brain-specific benefit of exercise.” explains lead researcher Dr. Gary Westbrook in a statement.
An experiment was designed to measure the brain’s response to single short bouts of exercise in sedentary mice; the animals were placed on running wheels for short periods of time to run a few kilometers in 2 hours, which is equivalent to about 4,000 human steps.
Synapse increase in the hippocampus was found after exercise sessions, and Mtss1L was found to increase during exercise; Mtss1L is responsible for encoding a protein that causes bending of cell membranes to promote growths on neurons where synapses form.
Findings from this study published in the journal eLife suggest that short exercise sessions were enough to provide the animal’s brain a supercharge when it comes to learning.
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