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How exercise benefits nerve cells

Activity stimulates production of neural insulation

1:51pm, August 4, 2011

Nerve cell communication gets better with use. A neuron’s electrical activity triggers other cells to come and slather on a protective coating that makes messages travel faster, a study published online August 4 in Science shows.

Like rubber insulation around electrical wires, myelin wraps around message-sending axons, protecting and speeding electrical impulses. Specialized brain cells called oligodendrocytes wrap up to 150 layers of this insulation around a single axon. In this image, a single oligodendrocyte (green) wraps several axons (purple).

The process begins when neurons fire off an el

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