Aerobic exercise may improve memory and is beneficial for brain health and cognition in young adults, a new study by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has claimed.
The findings by researchers at BUSM, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, suggest that certain hormones, which are increased during exercise, may help improve memory.
Hormones called growth factors are thought to mediate the relationship between exercise and brain health. The hippocampus, a region of the brain crucial for learning and memory, is thought to be uniquely affected by these hormones.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), have been implicated in the link between exercise and hippocampal function.
BDNF, for example, acts on the nervous system to help regulate communication between existing brain cells (neurons) and stimulate the growth and maturation of new hippocampal neurons and blood vessels.
The researchers recruited healthy young adults, in whom they measured blood hormone levels together with performance on a recognition memory task and aerobic fitness.
They were able to correlate the blood hormone levels with aerobic fitness, and subsequently whether there was any effect on memory function.
According to the researchers, BDNF and aerobic fitness predicted memory in an interactive manner.PTI