A new study suggests that regular exercise before a brain injury can produce a reduction in the levels of expected inflammation and damage. Previous research has already demonstrated that exercise after brain injury can help the brain’s repair mechanisms but this new study, carried out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in America, shows that exercise before the onset of damage modifies the brain environment in such a way that the neurons have extra protection.
The study used an experimental model of brain damage, in which mice were exposed to a chemical that destroys the hippocampus, an area of the brain which controls learning and memory. Mice that were exercised regularly prior to exposure produced an immune messenger called interlukin-6 in the brain, which dampens harmful inflammatory response to this damage, and prevents the depth of loss of function that is usually observed.
“This elegant series of experiments reveals an alternative pathway by which voluntary physical exercise may protect hippcampal neurons”, said Dr Ruth Barrientos from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado. She added: “Perhaps the greatest challenge with this line of research will not be more discoveries of compelling evidence of the anti-neuroinflammatory effects of exercise, but instead, getting humans to exercise voluntarily and regularly.” Click here read more >