Exercise definitely benefits a mammal’s brain, says cell biologist Moses Chao, PhD, a professor at NYU Langone and its Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine. Dr. Chao’s latest study, which looks at the relentless desire by mice to run on cage “exercise” wheels, offers clues to explain how exercise benefits a mammal’s brain at a molecular level.
Dr. Chao’s team measured the natural buildup of certain chemicals in the brain during the rodents’ exercise. These substances kick-start production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, known for enhancing memory and the growth of nerve cells. BDNF is sometimes called “Miracle-Gro” for the brain.
“We are only starting to understand” the many ways in which exercise of any kind and amount is likely to alter our brains, Dr. Chao tells The New York Times. For now, he adds, “it’s a very good idea to just keep moving.”
Read more from The New York Times.