We all know that exercising helps in keeping a fit and healthy body. But did we know that exercise has positive effects on the brain as well? Exercises can protect the brain against aging and this has been recently established in a research.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University carried out some tests on mice and found that exercises helped in boosting the levels of an enzyme, known as SIRT3. This enzyme provides protection against stressors, which lead to energy loss in brain cells. If the energy loss in brain cells can be stopped, then aging of brain can be restricted as well.
The research program is led by Mark Mattson from the National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine. A new animal model was used by the researchers for investigating whether neurons could be aided for resistance of energy-depleting stress. And the findings were remarkable. It was seen that mice that did not produce SIRT3 became sensitive to stress greatly when they were exposed to neurotoxins. Usually, neurotoxins cause epileptic seizures and neuro-degeneration.
On the other hand, mice that produced SIRT3 showed great results when they were exposed to some kind of exercise. The mice were put on a running wheel and it was seen that the levels of enzyme increased considerably with the exercise. Mark Mattson noted that the running wheel exercise led to the increase of level of SIRT3 in neurons in normal mice. And this provided protection against degeneration. In mice where the enzyme is not present, exercising failed to provide any kind of protection to the neurons.
The gene therapy technology can be used for increasing the levels of SIRT3 in neurons. This will protect the neurons from stress of any kind.
Natural aging leads to development of various kinds of neuro-disorders. For instance, Alzheimer’s is a neuro-degenerative disease that has become quite common in all parts of the world. Usually in these diseases, the brain cells cease producing substantial energy. As a result, the brain functionality reduces considerably.
With the findings from the research various kinds of therapies can be developed for restricting age-related cognitive decline.