Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Moderate aerobic exercise in older adults shown to improve memory

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
A new study shows that one year of moderate physical exercise can increase the size of the brain's hippocampus in older adults, leading to an improvement in spatial memory.

A new study shows that one year of moderate physical exercise can increase the size of the brain's hippocampus in older adults, leading to an improvement in spatial memory.

The project -- conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Illinois, Rice University, and Ohio State University -- is considered the first study of its kind focusing on older adults who are already experiencing atrophy of the hippocampus, the brain structure involved in all forms of memory formation.

The scientists recruited 120 sedentary older people without dementia and randomly placed them in one of two groups -- those who began an exercise regimen of walking around a track for 40 minutes a day, three days a week, or those limited to stretching and toning exercises. Magnetic resonance images were collected before the intervention, after six months, and at the end of the one-year study.

The aerobic exercise group demonstrated an increase in volume of the left and right hippocampus of 2.12 percent and 1.97 percent, respectively. The same regions of the brain in those who did stretching exercises decreased in volume by 1.40 and 1.43 percent, respectively.

Spatial memory tests were conducted for all participants at the three intervals. Those in the aerobic exercise group showed improved memory function, when measured against their performance at the start of the study, an improvement associated with the increased size of the hippocampus. The authors also examined several biomarkers associated with brain health, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a small molecule that is involved in learning and memory. They found that the increases in hippocampal size were associated with increased amounts of BDNF.

"We think of the atrophy of the hippocampus in later life as almost inevitable," said Kirk Erickson, professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the paper's lead author. "But we've shown that even moderate exercise for one year can increase the size of that structure. The brain at that stage remains modifiable."

"The results of our study are particularly interesting in that they suggest that even modest amounts of exercise by sedentary older adults can lead to substantial improvements in memory and brain health," said Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois and the senior author.

"Such improvements have important implications for the health of our citizens and the expanding population of older adults worldwide."

The study, funded through the National Institute on Aging, appears in the Jan. 31 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kirk I. Erickson, Michelle W. Voss, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Chandramallika Basak, Amanda Szabo, Laura Chaddock, Jennifer S. Kim, Susie Heo, Heloisa Alves, Siobhan M. White, Thomas R. Wojcicki, Emily Mailey, Victoria J. Vieira, Stephen A. Martin, Brandt D. Pence, Jeffrey A. Woods, Edward Mcauley, and Arthur F. Kramer. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. PNAS, Jan. 31, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1015950108

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Moderate aerobic exercise in older adults shown to improve memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131153249.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2011, February 1). Moderate aerobic exercise in older adults shown to improve memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131153249.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Moderate aerobic exercise in older adults shown to improve memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131153249.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins