The experiences and choices people make throughout life actively impact the brain.
As humans live longer, these choices also affect aging and quality of life. Lifestyle changes to diet and exercise will be important to aging populations as non-drug, easy-to-follow interventions with few side effects, make ideal potential therapies.
One study shows that as few as 12 consecutive days of exercise in aging rats helps preserve and improve movement function, an effect possibly caused by changes in dopamine.
The results suggest that exercise could stave off or reverse the slowed movements that are hallmarks of age (Jennifer Arnold, abstract 334.02).
Practices like yoga or meditation that increase mind/body awareness help people learn a brain-computer interface quicker. This finding may have implications for those who need brain-computer interfaces to function, such as people with paralysis (Bin He, PhD, abstract 16.06).
Long-term exercise in aging rats improves memory function, as well as increases the number of blood vessels in the white matter of their brains ‚Euro" the tracts that carry information between different areas of the brain. Increased blood flow may explain why exercise can help preserve memory (Yong Tang, MD, PhD, abstract 236.09).
Regular, supervised exercise helped young adults with depression overcome their symptoms in a pilot study. The results suggest that exercise could be an important treatment for depression in adolescents (Robin Callister, PhD, abstract 13.02, see attached summary).
A low calorie diet starting in middle-age onward protected rats against the effects of aging on movement. The results suggest that dietary interventions can help preserve movement function in a manner similar to exercise (Michael Salvatore, PhD, abstract 334.17).
--ANI (Posted on 11-11-2013)