AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Does Exercise Affect the Brain’s Aging Process? U-M Research Aims to Find Out

Researchers are investigating whether physical activity has beneficial effects on age-related declines in cognitive function 

Most people know that regular exercise can keep a body looking and feeling young. What about the brain? “There has been a wealth of evidence from past studies that physical activity has beneficial effects on neurocognitive functions, such as memory and regulatory control,” says Mark Peterson, PhD, MS, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine. “Essentially, those studies show that the physical activity alters the brain’s aging trajectories to preserve cognitive health.” Peterson and colleagues were recently awarded a two-year grant from the University of Michigan’s Exercise & Sport Science Initiative to further examine the role physical activity plays on the brain. The grant is one of four recently awarded by the U-M initiative to study physical activity. A shortage of comprehensive analyses propelled the new effort.

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