Remind me again why aerobic exercise is good for my brain (and mood, and thinking)…

There are lots of reasons why regular aerobic exercise is good for the brain – the effects of exercise on brain volume, cognition and mood are profound and enduring. Here are a few key papers. In an early review paper, Colcombe and Kramer (2003) conducted a meta-analysis of 18 interventional studies, conducted over a 25-year period. Their… Read More

Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Take-home message: further evidence that aerobic exercise provides substantial neuroprotection against brain insult, even if there are equivalent losses of neurons in key brain regions compared to sedentary controls. [Download the paper] Much more on exercise. Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic… Read More

Physical Activity and the Prevention of Depression: A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies

Important systematic review evidence for the efficacy of physical activity on mood, adding further to the evidence base that exercise plays a very positive neuroregulatory role (see also this Cochrane systematic review downloadable here; and some of our own work here). Am J Prev Med. 2013 Nov;45(5):649-57. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.001. Physical activity and the prevention of depression: a systematic… Read More

Exploring adverse neuropsychiatric effects of interferon alpha, using a preclinical model; exploring behavioural and pharmacological pathways to amelioration of these adverse effects

Recombinant Human Interferon-Alpha Pic from the Wikimedia Commons. Interferon alpha is widely used in the treatment of a variety of non-neurological conditions (for example, hepatitis C, Kaposi’s sarcoma, among others). It is in fact currently the only FDA-approved treatment for hepatitis C. Treatment for hepatitis is limited by the striking and adverse neuropsychiatric consequences of interferon alpha… Read More

Roles for the cyclooxygenases (especially COX 2) in learning and memory, as well as in synaptic plasticity.

A pair of papers which focus on the role the inducible inflammatory regulating enzyme COX2 plays in learning and memory. These papers proceeded from earlier work of ours, showing that the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) blocked synaptic plasticity but not synaptic transmission CA1-subiculum pathway in vivo. LPS induces the expression of COX2, amongst other things, and it seemed reasonable to… Read More

Aerobic exercise improves hippocampal function and increases BDNF in the serum of young adult males.

Take-home message: It is becoming increasingly accepted that substantial, sustained low-impact aerobic exercise has profound effects on neurocognitive function in the aged (see, for example, this very important paper from Art Kramer’s group). We here focus on a young and sedentary population, using tasks that tap into hippocampal function. We also measure circulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a proxy for brain BDNF. We… Read More