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Romain Meeusen - Is exercise good for the Brain?

Romain Meeusen

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, BE

Head of the Human Physiology Research Group

Theme: Exercise and the Brain in Health & Disease

Keynote Title: Is exercise good for the Brain?

 

Abstract: Exercise has an powerful influence on the brain. It is now well established that exercise will have a positive effect on brain health. Physical exercise can preserve cognitive function in elderly populations, promote functional recovery after central nervous system (CNS) traumatic injury, and induce neurogenesis in the adult CNS. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin, increase during exercise and repeated exercise (training) will influence baseline neurotransmitter release. Physical exercise can preserve cognitive function in elderly populations. Physical exercise will induce neurogenesis in the adult Central Nervous System. Physical activity also increases trophic factor production in select regions of the brain. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a crucial effector of experience-dependent plasticity. It is a neurotrophin that acts as a regulator of the survival, growth, and differentiation of neurons. Physical activity and, in particular, acute exercise and training seem to be key interventions to trigger the processes through which neurotrophins mediate energy metabolism and, in turn, neural plasticity and cognition. Different forms of exercise (endurance or resistance training) will trigger neurogenesis and improve cognitive performance through different mechanisms. When exercising in an environment where there is a danger of air pollution, it seems that the positive effect of exercise gets overruled by the negative influence of pollution on brain functioning.

   

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International Congress
Exercise and Health, Sports and Human Development
11 - 12 november. - University of Évora