Exercise May Enhance the Effects of Brain Training (The New York Times):
“..an 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 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
- Can you grow your hippocampus? Yes. Here’s how, and why it matters
- How learning changes your brain
- Can brain training work? Yes, if it meets these 5 conditions
- Solving the Brain Fitness Puzzle Is the Key to Self-Empowered Aging
- Report: 35% of worldwide dementia cases could be prevented by modifying these 9 modifiable risk factors
- Dr. Anna Wexler to discuss the Present and Future of DIY Brain Enhancement at the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (December 5–7th)
- Dr. Art Kramer on Why We Need Walking Book Clubs to Enhance Cognitive Fitness