Study Highlights Exercise Can Boost Brain Blood Flow

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( — March 15, 2022) Orlando, FL — Multiple research studies have been carried out to look into the impacts of exercise on various aspects of health, including the brain.

One study was performed by the researchers at UT Southwestern.

In this research, it has been found that an exercise program in older adults with mild memory loss led to enhanced blood flow to their brains. 

“This is part of a growing body of evidence linking exercise with brain health,” says study leader Rong Zhang, Ph.D., professor of neurology at UTSW. 

“We’ve shown for the first time in a randomized trial in these older adults that exercise gets more blood flowing to your brain.”

It is worth mentioning that as many as one-fifth of people age 65 and older have some level of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). It is worth noting MCI causes slight changes to the brain that affect decision-making, memory, or reasoning skills. 

In a number of cases, MCI progresses to dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

It has been previously found that there is a link between lower-than-usual levels of blood flow to the brain, and stiffer blood vessels leading to the brain and MCI and dementia. Former studies have also revealed that aerobic exercise regularly may be helpful for cognition and memory in healthy adults. 

“There is still a lot we don’t know about the effects of exercise on cognitive decline later in life,” says C. Munro Cullum, Ph.D.

Cullum is a professor of psychiatry at UTSW and co-senior author of the study. 

“MCI and dementia are likely to be influenced by a complex interplay of many factors, and we think that, at least for some people, exercise is one of those factors.”

In this research, the investigating team tracked 70 men and women who belonged to the age bracket of 55 and 80 years and had been diagnosed with MCI.

Exercise is vital for various aspects of health and disease protection. It is essential not just for the brain but also for weight management and in warding off a range of diseases. 

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