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Future Health






Exercise may help grow new brain cells

August 1, 2014 

Exercise doesn't just help your heart and other parts of your body stay healthy, it helps your brain stay healthy and even grow new brain cells.
 
That's according to new research that shows that exercise can help your brain growth, especially in the hippocampus which is the part of the brain that deals with learning and memory.
 
The new findings show that during endurance exercise a particular protein is released into the bloodstream that preserves existing brain cells and stimulates the growth of new nerves and the synapses that connect nerves.
 
Endurance exercise can be jogging, brisk walking, or other activities that raise your heart rate.
 
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School is now trying to create a pill with the same effect to prescribe to patients with declining cognitive skills such as those at the beginning stages of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 
 
Although studies so far have included only animals, researchers are optimistic that the human brain will respond in the same way.
 
So doctors' orders to get out and move to keep your heart healthy suddenly have new meaning for your brain.