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Aerobic exercise helps aging brains grow

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Atlantic: A study showed that doing aerobic exercise twice a week for 26 weeks significantly increased the volume of the hippocampi in older women.

Methodology: Researchers from Canada and the Netherlands did a 26-week study on 86 women who were between 70 and 80 years old. The study focused only on women to avoid potential gender differences in how the brain responds to exercise. The participants were assigned to an aerobic training, resistance training, or balance and tone training regimen (this last one was the control group), and performed their respective exercises twice per week.

Before and after the 26 weeks of exercise, the researchers measured the volume of participants’ hippocampuses (the region of the brain associated with memory, and whose atrophy is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease) as well as their performance on a verbal learning test that asked them to recall words spoken aloud to them.

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