AANP – Brief Exercise Immediately Imprints Enhanced Memory – (Wednesday, November 28, 2012) –
Scientists have discovered that a short burst of moderate exercise enhances the consolidation of memories in both healthy older adults and in those with mild cognitive impairment. (Most research has focused on the benefits of a long-term exercise program on overall health and cognitive function with age. This study is the first to examine the immediate effects of a brief bout of exercise on memory.) In their study, researchers had people 50 to 85 years old with and without memory deficits view pleasant images, such as photos of nature and animals, and then exercise on a stationary bicycle for six minutes at 70 percent of their maximum capacity immediately afterward. One hour later, participants were given a surprise recall test on the previously viewed images.
Results showed a striking enhancement of memory by the one burst of exercise compared with subjects who did not ride the bike. Scientists will now investigate the potential underlying mechanism. After exercise, they discovered higher levels of salivary alpha amylase, a biomarker that reflects norepinephrine activity in the brain, especially in those with memory impairment. Study results appear only in the November 2012 print issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.