Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Great news: The New York Times acknowledges that (as clearly documented for 10+ years) Exercise and Brain Training are BOTH crucial for Lifelong Brain Fitness

Exer­cise May Enhance the Effects of Brain Train­ing (The New York Times): inter­est­ing new study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science sug­gests that com­bin­ing intense exer­cise and brain train­ing might, over time, ampli­fy the ben­e­fits of both for the brain, even in peo­ple whose minds already are work­ing well…scientists at McMas­ter Uni­ver­si­ty in Hamil­ton, Ontario, began to won­der recent­ly whether brain train­ing and exer­cise train­ing might be com­ple­men­tary, with exer­cise prompt­ing the cre­ation of baby neu­rons that brain train­ing would then strengthen…the study’s find­ings sug­gest that exer­cis­ing both our bod­ies and minds may pro­vide the great­est boost to our mem­o­ries…”

The Study

The Effects of Phys­i­cal Exer­cise and Cog­ni­tive Train­ing on Mem­o­ry and Neu­rotroph­ic Fac­tors (Jour­nal of Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science).

  • Abstract: This study exam­ined the com­bined effect of phys­i­cal exer­cise and cog­ni­tive train­ing on mem­o­ry and neu­rotroph­ic fac­tors in healthy, young adults. Nine­ty-five par­tic­i­pants com­plet­ed 6 weeks of exer­cise train­ing, com­bined exer­cise and cog­ni­tive train­ing, or no train­ing (con­trol). Both the exer­cise and com­bined train­ing groups improved per­for­mance on a high-inter­fer­ence mem­o­ry task, where­as the con­trol group did not. In con­trast, nei­ther train­ing group improved on gen­er­al recog­ni­tion per­for­mance, sug­gest­ing that exer­cise train­ing selec­tive­ly increas­es high-inter­fer­ence mem­o­ry that may be linked to hip­pocam­pal func­tion. Indi­vid­u­als who expe­ri­enced greater fit­ness improve­ments from the exer­cise train­ing (i.e., high respon­ders to exer­cise) also had greater increas­es in the serum neu­rotroph­ic fac­tors brain-derived neu­rotroph­ic fac­tor and insulin-like growth factor‑1. These high respon­ders to exer­cise also had bet­ter high-inter­fer­ence mem­o­ry per­for­mance as a result of the com­bined exer­cise and cog­ni­tive train­ing com­pared with exer­cise alone, sug­gest­ing that poten­tial syn­er­gis­tic effects might depend on the avail­abil­i­ty of neu­rotroph­ic fac­tors. These find­ings are espe­cial­ly impor­tant, as mem­o­ry ben­e­fits accrued from a rel­a­tive­ly short inter­ven­tion in high-func­tion­ing young adults.

The Study in Context

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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