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Another Reason to Exercise: It Is Good For Your Brain

Sometimes we all seem to need yet another reason to exercise and here is a great one - it is good for the brain. CNN.com reported recently on a new study that exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss (the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus).

Dr. Scott Small, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York led the study that used MRI scans to study participants brains before and after exercise. They found that people (like the mice tested before them) grew new brain cells in a brain region known to be affected in the age-related memory decline that begins around age 30 for most humans. Since the researchers could not dissect the brains of people to see if new neurons grew, instead they used MRI readings to measure cerebral blood flow. They also measured the fitness of each volunteer by measuring oxygen volume before and after the training program. What is interesting and super motivational is the more fit participants became the more blood flow was detected to the dentate gyrus (remember that is the region of the brain linked to memory - it you forgot already, maybe you should get out and exercise).

The next step? Figuring out the most effective exercise regimen, so doctors can prescribe specific types of exercise to improve memory. Do you think we will all be doing sit-ups for our brains soon?

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