Thursday, January 23, 2014
“How Inactivity Changes the Brain” or “This Is Your Brain on the Couch”
The wonderful Ms. Gretchen Reynolds, who writes the Well blog for the NY Times, has just reported on a provocative piece of research for those of us who are worried about our brains, be they damaged, injured or aging just too damn fast.
Her article, entitled How Inactivity Changes the Brain, starts off saying “A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of new brain cells and inducing other changes. Now it appears that inactivity, too, can remodel the brain, according to a notable new report”
And, guess what? In activity doesn’t improve brain performance.
She goes on to write that “The study, which was conducted in rats but likely has implications for people too, the researchers say, found that being sedentary changes the shape of certain neurons in ways that significantly affect not just the brain but the heart as well. The findings may help to explain, in part, why a sedentary lifestyle is so bad for us.”
Interested? Worried? Want to know why your sedentary lifestyle is so bad for you? Go to this link: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/how-inactivity-changes-the-brain/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
This following quote from Patrick Mueller, an associate professor of physiology at Wayne State University who oversaw the new study, is now etched into my brain: “In upcoming presentations, Dr. Mueller said, he plans to show slides of the different rat neurons and, echoing the old anti-drug message, point out that In upcoming presentations, Dr. Mueller said, he plans to show slides of the different rat neurons and, echoing the old anti-drug message, point out that “‘this is your brain.’ And this is your brain on the couch.”
If you're particularly active, a science major or like reading dense scientific reports, here's a link to the abstract, entitled Physical (in)activity-dependent structural plasticity in bulbospinal catecholaminergic neurons of rat rostral ventrolateral medulla published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24114875
PS - And if you find a way to work the words “bulbospinal catecholaminergic neurons” into a conversation over lunch today, give yourself a gold star.
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_25211017_cartoon-humor-concept-illustration-of-couch-potato-saying-or-proverb.html'>izakowski / 123RF Stock Photo</a>