Sport in old age can stimulate brain fitness, effect decreases with advancing age

October 20, 2014
http://images.sciencedaily.com/2014/10/141020134902-large.jpg
Science Daily/DZNE - German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Physical exercise in old age can improve brain perfusion as well as certain memory skills, say neuroscientists who studied men and women aged between 60 and 77. In younger individuals regular training on a treadmill tended to improve cerebral blood flow and visual memory. However, trial participants who were older than 70 years of age tended to show no benefit of exercise.

Physical exercise is known to have considerable health benefits: the effects on the body have been researched extensively, the effects on brain function less so. An increase in brain perfusion through physical exercise had previously only been demonstrated empirically in younger people. 

The new study shows that some aging brains also retain this ability to adapt, even though it seems to decrease with advancing age. Furthermore, the results indicate that changes in memory performance resulting from physical exercise are closely linked to changes in brain perfusion.

"We are looking for ways of delaying or even stopping the progression of the disease. And we are also researching methods of prevention," emphasizes Düzel. "Connecting physical activity and mental exercise may have a broad impact, and combined training might become a therapeutic approach. However, this has yet to be shown. In fact, our current results suggest that we may need pharmacological treatments to make exercise more effective."
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141020134902.htm

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