Improve Brain Health with Exercise.
Previous studies have shown endurance exercise can improve cognitive function, especially in older adults; however, the underlying mechanism was unknown. New research shows that muscular exertion results in the release of a protein called FNDC5 into the blood stream. In turn, FNDC5 stimulates the brain to produce a protein called BDNF that promotes the development of new nerves and synapses, and prolongs the survival of existing brain cells. Researchers artificially added FNDC5 into the bloodstream of mice and observed increases of BDNF in the animals’ brains a week later. This finding may lead to new treatments to help maintain healthy brains in patients who aren’t able to exercise due to injury or disability.
Cell Metabolism, October 2013