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Argentine Study Suggests Physical Activity Could Generate New Neurons in Adulthood

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Argentine Study Suggests Physical Activity Could Generate New Neurons in Adulthood

A recent study conducted in Argentina has shown that physical activity may not only help prevent cognitive decline but could also potentially generate new neurons in adulthood. Neuroscientists and technologists found that even sedentary individuals saw improvements in their spatial memory after just 25 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike.

The study, led by neuroscientist Fabricio Ballarini from the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires and the Institute of Cell Biology and Neurosciences of the University of Buenos Aires, focused on a region of the brain called the Dentate Gyrus, where spatial memories are processed. This region is believed to be the only place where neurogenesis, or the generation of new neurons, may occur in mammals, including humans.

The key to this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and health of neurons and increases during physical exercise. By using virtual reality technology, researchers were able to study the impact of exercise on spatial memory in humans.

The study involved 98 volunteers aged 18 to 40 who were asked to memorize the location of flags in a virtual environment. Participants were then divided into two groups – one that exercised on a stationary bike and another that watched a cycling race video. Those who exercised showed improved performance in locating the flags in the virtual environment, while those who did not exercise did not show the same improvement.

The researchers hope that their findings can lead to alternative methods for improving memory and cognitive function, especially in older populations. While the study is not definitive proof that exercise generates new neurons, it does offer promising results in the quest to understand the brain’s response to physical activity.

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This study represents an important step towards unlocking the potential benefits of physical exercise on brain health and cognition.

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