Exercise can change how strong parts of our brain interact with aging, improving aspects of thinking and remembering, according to a fascinating new study of aging brain aerobic exercise. A study of older African-Americans found that unrelated parts of the brain’s memory center began to interact in complex, healthy new ways after regular exercise, exacerbating memory function.
The findings broaden our understanding of how agile horses think and emphasize the need to stay active, regardless of our age.
The idea that physical activity improves brain health is already well established. Experiments with animals and humans show that exercise increases hippocampal neurons, which can be used to create and maintain memory while improving thinking skills. In adults, regular physical activity helps to slow down the normal loss of brain volume, which can help prevent age-related memory loss and possibly reduce the risk of dementia.
There have also been notes that exercise can change how far parts of the brain talk. For example, in a 2016 MRI study, researchers found that different parts of the brain were illuminated simultaneously in collegiate runners but less so in sedentary students. This combined activity of the brain is thought to be a form of communication that allows parts of the brain to work together to improve thinking skills without sharing physical connection. The synchronized parts of the runners were related to attention, decision-making, and working memory, suggesting that running and fitness could contribute to smarter thinking.
But those students were young and healthy, facing the imminent threat of memory loss. Little was known about how exercise could change the crunching, old-fashioned communication systems of the brain, and if so, the thought of recharging.
So for a new study published in the January issue of the journal Teaching and Memory Neurobiology, Mark Gluck, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University in Newark, and his colleagues decided to look at what happened inside a much larger brain. people if they start cultivating.
In particular, he was surprised by their average time bubbles. This part of the brain contains the hippocampus, the core of our memory center. Unfortunately, his inner workings often begin to shake with age, leading to a decline in thinking և memory. But Dr. Gluck doubted that exercise could change that trajectory.
As director of Rutgers’ Aging & Brain Health Alliance, he was already leading the ongoing training experience. Working with local church centers and community centers, he and his colleagues had previously recruited sedentary, elderly African-American men and women from the Newark area. The volunteers, most of whom were over 60, visited Dr. Gluck’s lab for a health check, as well as a cognitive check. Some agreed to scan their brain activity.
After that, some started working and others chose to be a sedentary control group. Everyone initially shared similar functions of fitness և memory. The Exercise group attended one-hour aerobic dance classes twice a week for 20 weeks at a church or community center.
Now, Dr. Gluck and his research partner Neha Sinha, along with other colleagues, have invited 34 of the volunteers who had completed an earlier brain scan to return. Seventeen of them were training before that. the rest are not. The groups also repeated the cognitive tests.
Then the scientists started to compare and quickly noticed subtle differences in the way the trainers’ brains work. Their studies showed more synchronized activity in their median temporal lobes than in the sedentary group; this activity was more dynamic. The parts of the trainers’ buttons will light up together, then in seconds they will be oriented, illuminated with the other parts of the buttons. Dr. Gluck says that such lewd synchronization shows a kind of young flexibility in the brain, as if the chains were dancing smoothly on the ball in a trade. The coaches’ brains will “flexibly handle their connections,” he says, just as the sedentary brains could not.
It is equally possible that these changes have played into people’s minds and memories. The coaches performed better than before, trying to learn to և store information և to use it logically in new situations. This flexible thinking involves the middle ground, says Dr. Gluck, who is declining with age. But older coaches scored higher than they did in the beginning, and those whose brains showed the best correlation now outperform the rest.
Older African-Americans in this study, however, are a group that is underrepresented in health research but may not be representative of all older people. Still, even with that warning, it seems that the nervous flexibility gained by exercising several times a week “directly leads to memory flexibility,” says Dr. Gluck.