How Exercise Improves Brain Performance & Treats Mental Disorders
New research has found a genetic link between exercise and brain performance, implying that physical activity could treat disorders like ADD and ADHD, especially during youth.
What's the Latest Development?
Scientists have identified a gene which helps determine to what extent exercise improves learning and memory function. Scientists have long known that exercise gets the blood flowing, pumping more oxygen into the brain, but Dartmouth's David Bucci wants to know what physiological changes occur when there is more oxygen in the brain. By finding a genetic link between exercise and mental performance, Bucci may be able to treat mental disorders by prescribing physical activity. "This could mean," said Bucci, "that you may be able to predict which ADHD child, if we genotype them and look at their DNA, would respond to exercise as a treatment and which ones wouldn't."
What's the Big Idea?
Bucci's research identified the mechanism through which exercise improves brain function. Called 'brain derived neurotrophic factor', or BDNF, the mechanism has proven more influential in adolescents than adults. Bucci, who has been critical of the use of psychotropic drugs to treat disorders like ADD and ADHD, said: "The implication is that exercising during development, as your brain is growing, is changing the brain in concert with normal developmental changes, resulting in your having more permanent wiring of the brain in support of things like learning and memory."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.