Physical exercise could improve cognitive health and cerebral blood flow

30 participants in late-adulthood were examined for changes in long-term memory and blood circulation in the brain.

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New research by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that physical exercise improves cognitive health and even promotes blood circulation in areas of the brain associated with memory.

The results were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In the study, 30 participants in late-adulthood were examined for changes in long-term memory and blood circulation in the brain. Of the 30 participants, half initiated a physical exercise routine, while the remaining half did stretching routines.

According to researchers, the participants that engaged in a physical exercise routine had a nearly 50 percent increase in good scores of memory performance following one year of workouts, compared to their counterparts.

During their routines, brain imaging scans taken demonstrated improved blood circulation in two key regions of the brain linked to memory function: the anterior cingulate cortex and the hippocampus.

“Perhaps we can one day develop a drug or procedure that safely targets blood flow into these brain regions,” said Binu Thomas, co-author of the study.

“But we’re just getting started with exploring the right combination of strategies to help prevent or delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s much more to understand about the brain and aging,” Thomas concluded.

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