A recent study published in the Archives of Neurology and mentioned in a Modern Medicine article revealed that regular exercise leads to enhanced cognitive function in elderly study participants. Laura D. Baker, PhD and her colleagues conducted the study at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Another study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota demonstrated that, ‘Associations between cognition and self-reported exercise found there was reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment in both men and women for any frequency of moderate exercise,’ the Modern Medicine article reported.
An HD Lighthouse article published in 2006 reported that, ‘New studies indicate that regular exercise may protect against Parkinson’s disease or reverse some of the devastating consequences of traumatic brain injury.’ The Lighthouse article went on to report that exercise encourages neurogenesis – the formation of new brain cells – in the brains of youth all the way to the elderly. Exercise has even been shown to help repair broken neural pathways in injured brains.
One researcher told the HD Lighthouse, ‘These findings help us better understand why healing stops after a brain injury,” says GÃ³mez-Pinilla. “More importantly, they show that exercise can counteract the effects of trauma.’ He added, ‘This opens the possibility of harnessing this capacity of exercise to promote neural healing.’ In addition to aiding in the recovery from traumatic brain injuries, exercise has also been shown to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other brain dysfunctions.
Consistent exercise has a protective effect on the brains of non-injured healthy people, which may lead to much better rates of recovery in case of future injuries, as well as decreased chances of developing other brain diseases and complications. Two articles noted that exercise produces beta-endorphin, a mood-elevating chemical, which may be one of the sources of the health benefits exercise provides.
More recent studies have also shown exercise to be beneficial in reducing and alleviating the effects of aging, such as memory impairment and cognitive decline. The implications of the recent studies underscore the results of the 1997 and 2006 studies; exercise does wonders for the body and the brain. A Reuters article reported that six months of intense exercise, ‘improved cognitive abilities of attention and concentration, organization, planning, and multi-tasking,’ in a group of patients taking part in the study by Dr. Baker.
Exercise may prove difficult but rewarding for the many traumatic brain injury survivors seeking to improve their conditions. It offers an immediate and inexpensive source of inspiration and strength to people who want to take charge of healing their brain injuries.
Brooks, Megan. (January 15, 2010) ‘Exercise protects and improves the aging brain.’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the Reuters Web site:http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60E5A120100115
Covalt, Ann. (October 22, 2006) ‘Benefits of Exercise include Protection from Brain Diseases, Aging, says new Research.’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the HD Lighthouse Web site:http://hdlighthouse.org/treatment-care/care/hdltriad/exercise/updates/13…
HealthDay News Staff. (January 15, 2010) ‘Studies Find Exercise Helps Cognitive Function in Elderly.’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the Modern Medicine Web site:http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Studies…
Lichtenstein, Grace. (November 5, 1997) ‘Sports Medicine; Study Suggests That Exercise After Brain Injury Is Beneficial.’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the New York Times Web site: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/05/sports/sports-medicine-study-suggests-…