Although it is proven that physical exercise seems to prevent cognitive impairment and dementia in older age. Researcher are exploring in one of the first studies conducted in this class that how exercise affects metabolism of brain.
Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt are exploring in one of the first studies conducted of this kind about how exercise affects brain metabolism. Various studies have proven that physical exercise seems effective in preventing cognitive impairment and dementia in older age.
Gerontologists and sports physicians at Goethe University Frankfurt are examining the effect of physical exercise on the brain’s metabolism and memory performance of 60 participants between the ages of 65 to 85. The sample size is a little small – the methodology however, seems solid.
It was a randomized controlled trial. Although a great deal of research exists on the positive influence of physical activity on the brain — this study has increased the knowledgebase.
The researchers thoroughly examined all the participants in the SMART study which is acronym of (Sport and Metabolism in Older Persons, and MRT study) this was reported by the researchers in the most recent issue of the medical journal Translational Psychiatry. The researchers thoroughly examined all the participants by evaluating movement-related parameters, cardiopulmonary fitness and cognitive performance (Cognitive performance is our capability to use the understanding acquired by mental developments in our brains. A properly functioning brain regulates a range of voluntary and involuntary activities. Examples of these actions are the sleep-wake cycle, attention, perception, mood, emotion, appetite-satiety and memory.
In addition to all of these tests, magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) were utilized to evaluate brains structure and brain metabolism
After these examinations were conducted all the participants were included in the study were made to exercise on an exercise bike around 3 times a week over a span of 12 weeks. The timing of exercise was 30 minutes and were individually adapted to the level of performance of each and every participant.
After the programme was finished the participants were examined to record the effect of this physical activity on metabolism of brain, cognitive performance and structure of brain.
The extent of exercise, which led to a significant improvement in all the participant’s physical fitness, was a major factor for the researchers to investigate.
The study was directed by the Gerontology Department of the Institute of General Medicine (headed by Professor Johannes Pantel) and the Department of Sports Medicine (led by Professor Winfried Banzer).
As anticipated, physical activity had influenced brain metabolism on a great extent: it prohibited a surge in choline. The concentration of this metabolite often rises as a result of the relatively increased loss of nerve cells, which normally occurs in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Physical exercise led to more stable cerebral choline concentrations in the training group, whereas choline levels were increased in the control group. The participants’ physical fitness also improved drastically: they showed increased cardiac efficiency after the training session. Overall, these findings suggest that physical exercise not only improves physical fitness but also protects cells.