Saturday, December 19, 2015

Physical activity may leave the brain more open to learning

Public Release: 7-Dec-2015
Physical activity may leave the brain more open to change
Cell Press

Learning, memory, and brain repair depend on the ability of our neurons to change with experience. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 7 have evidence from a small study in people that exercise may enhance this essential plasticity of the adult brain.


The plastic potential of the cerebral cortex is greatest early in life, when the developing brain is molded by experience. Brain plasticity is generally thought to decline with age. This decline in the brain's flexibility over time is especially pronounced in the sensory brain, which displays far less plasticity in adults than in younger people.


Regardless of the mechanism, the findings suggest that exercise plays an important role in brain health and recovery. They come as especially good news for people with amblyopia, which is generally considered to be untreatable in adults.

"Our study suggests that physical activity, which is also beneficial for the general health of the patient, could be used to increase the efficiency of the treatment in adult patients," Lunghi says. "So, if you have a lazy eye, don't be lazy yourself!"


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