Just 6 minutes of intense exercise may boost memory: Study
Just six minutes of high-intensity interval exercise boosted the blood level of a protein involved in learning and memory formation, a new study has found.
The protein, known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), is being explored as a potential therapy for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
So far, no clinical trial has shown that delivering BDNF to the brain can slow or prevent the loss of neurons of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
However, some studies have found that exercise can improve blood flow or brain connectivity — and possibly memory — in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), although the research has been mixed.
Travis Gibbons, lead author of the new study and a PhD candidate in environmental physiology at the University of Otago, New Zealand, thinks exercise might provide a way to boost BDNF levels in the brain without the need for medical treatments.
“BDNF has shown great promise in animal models, but pharmaceutical interventions have thus far failed to safely harness the protective power of BDNF in humans,” he said in a press release.
Therefore, “we saw the need to explore non-pharmacological approaches that can preserve the brain’s capacity, which humans can use to naturally increase BDNF to help with healthy aging,” he added.
The study was published January 11 in The Journal of Physiology.