You may ask, “how to prevent dementia?” The answer is no, you cannot. But you can take calculated steps to reduce the risk of it. Swimming, running, or whatever form or exercise has proved that it makes our brain healthy. A study supports that more substantial changes occur with the maintenance of a long-term exercise regimen. If you can do it successfully, you must know that a healthier brain brings about a healthier body and happier life. 

That running can boost our memory to the same degree or more than brain training is an old observation that still puzzles scientists worldwide. But a new study by National Institute on Aging scientists is providing information about how that happens and emphasizing that to keep memory from fading, people should keep running.


The study, “Running-Induced Systemic Cathepsin B Secretion Is Associated with Memory Function,” published recently in the journal Cell Metabolism, has already attracted plenty of media coverage, since the findings overwhelmingly show that people who exercise more also reap the most benefits of improved cognition. It is a recipe that could keep dementia at bay.


Scientists have long studied brain changes triggered by endurance exercise such as running, and they have identified growth factors and other brain-specific molecules that contribute to the building of more neural connections with exercise – but questions still remained regarding the effect of exercise on memory in the very first place.


Attempting to clear confusion, senior author Henriette van Praag at the National Institute on Aging went to what she imagined was the source of the potential changes – the muscles.  Because muscles undergo radical changes when exercised, they might produce some substance that travels through the bloodstream to the brain to impact memory function.


Starting with muscle cells in a laboratory dish, they looked at molecules produced by the cells during and after a run – but because cells in a dish do not run, they were treated with a chemical that simulated the effect.


Soon enough, one molecule stuck out. Cathepsin-B – a factor explored in a scattered collection of studies ranging from cancer to epilepsy – was present in large quantities in both the cell-growth medium and in the blood and muscles of mice that had been running every day for weeks in another part of the lab.


The team is now focusing on the details of how cathepsin-B boosts the production of other desirable brain molecules.


“Overall, the message is that a consistently healthy lifestyle pays off,” said Dr. van Praag. “People often ask us, how long do you have to exercise, how many hours? The study supports that more substantial changes occur with the maintenance of a long-term exercise regimen.”


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Curated from Muscle Factor Made by Running Can Improve Memory, Deter Dementia


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