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Exercise helps brains bounce back

Study of rhesus monkeys shows running protects dopamine neurons from death

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2:32pm, October 19, 2009

CHICAGO — A toned, buff bod isn’t the only thing a workout is good for. Exercise protects special brain cells in monkeys’ brains and improves motor function, a new study finds. The data, presented at a news briefing October 18 in Chicago at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, adds to a growing body of evidence that shows exercise is good for the brain, too.

“This is sort of a quiet revolution that’s been occurring in neuroscience,” says Carl Cotman, a brain aging expert at the University of California, Irvine, “to realize that physical activity at a certain level impacts the brain in a really profound way.”

In the new study, researchers led by Judy Cameron of the University of Pittsburgh trained six adult female rhesus monkeys to run on treadmills built for humans. Over a period of three months, monkeys either ran, jogged or sat on a treadmill for five hours each week. Monkeys that ran got their hear

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