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Physical Activity Helps to Preserve Brain Structure & Activity

Posted Dec 01 2012 10:08pm

Previous studies suggest a protective action of physical activity on memory and learning.  Alan J. Gow, from the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), and colleagues  studied the role of exercise on the structure of the brain.  The team studied a group of men and women, averaging in their early 70s, assessing the subjects for self-reported leisure and physical activity at age 70 years and structural brain biomarkers at 73 years.  The researchers observed that the participants who participated in regular physical activity were less likely to experience loss of brain volume and other changes in brain structure. After adjusting for confounding variables, the investigators revealed that physical activity not only  significantly associated with less brain atrophy but it associated with increased gray matter volume as well as a decrease in the computed volume of white matter lesions. Observing that: “physical activity was associated with less atrophy and [white matter lesions],” the study authors submit that: “Its role as a potential neuroprotective factor is supported.”

Gow AJ, Bastin ME, Munoz Maniega S, Valdes Hernández MC, Morris Z, Murray C, Royle NA, Starr JM, Deary IJ, Wardlaw JM.  “Neuroprotective lifestyles and the aging brain: Activity, atrophy, and white matter integrity.”  Neurology. 2012 Oct 23;79(17):1802-1808.

Seniors who engage in regular physical activity are less likely to experience loss of brain volume and potentially retain cognitive skills.
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#80 - Hugs & Snugs
Therapeutic touch is a healing modality employed by health practitioners and nurses to help relieve pain, depression, and anxiety. Various scientific experiments have shown that touch causes measurable and positive physiological changes in both the person doing the touching and the one receiving the touch. Hugging can be considered as a two-way version of therapeutic touch. It is a safe alternative to kissing (see Tip 73) and a wholesome, feel-good activity.
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