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Running may help deal with stress: study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Running can help stave off the negative effects of and protect the brain region responsible for learning and memory, a study has found.

"Exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to eliminate the negative impacts on of chronic stress," said Jeff Edwards, at in the US.

Inside the hippocampus, formation and recall occur optimally when the synapses or connections between neurons are strengthened over time.

That process of synaptic strengthening is called long-term potentiation (LTP). Chronic or prolonged weakens the synapses, which decreases LTP and ultimately impacts

The study, published in the journal of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, found that when exercise co-occurs with stress, LTP levels are not decreased, but remain normal.

Researchers carried out experiments with mice. One group of mice used running wheels over a 4-week period (averaging five kilometre an per day) while another set of mice was left sedentary.

Half of each group was then exposed to stress-inducing situations, such as walking on an elevated platform or swimming in cold water.

One hour after induction researchers carried out electrophysiology experiments on the animals' brains to measure the LTP.

Stressed mice who had exercised had significantly greater LTP than the stressed mice who did not run.

Researchers also found that stressed mice who exercised performed just as well as non-stressed mice who exercised on a maze-running experiment testing their


They also found that exercising mice made significantly fewer errors in the maze than the sedentary mice.

The findings reveal exercise is a viable method to protect learning and mechanisms from the negative cognitive impacts of chronic on the brain.

"The ideal situation for improving learning and would be to experience no and to exercise. Of course, we can't always control in our lives, but we can control how much we exercise," Edwards said.

"It's empowering to know that we can combat the negative impacts of on our brains just by getting out and running," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 15:25 IST
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