Fit Moms, Brainier Babies: Exercising mothers provide neurological benefits | Science News

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Fit Moms, Brainier Babies: Exercising mothers provide neurological benefits

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1:20pm, March 8, 2006

Offspring of mice that jogged each day during pregnancy may have an advantage over pups of sedentary moms, according to a new study. In a part of the brain that contributes to learning and memory, the exercisers' pups have more cells than those of sedentary mice do.

Over the past few years, studies have suggested that exercise provides a host of neurological benefits (SN: 2/25/06, p. 122: Buff and Brainy). However, scientists typically performed these studies on adult animals, notes neuroscientist Gerd Kempermann of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. He says that he wondered, "If exercise has this neurological effect during adulthood and in old age, what about the other extreme of life, during the earliest development?"

To explore how a mother's exercise affects very young brains, Kempermann and his colleagues devised a simple experiment. A day after laboratory mice had mated, the researchers put the pregnant animals

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