AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Mice on Wheels Show Scientists How Exercise Benefits Their Brains

Running rodents make more of a “Miracle-Gro” chemical for the brain

A protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, has been labeled as the “Miracle-Gro” protein in the brain based on its role in enhancing memory and the growth of nerve cells. Researchers found in a study using mice that BDNF levels increase within the brain when the mice exercise on the wheel. “We believe that our study shows a precise biological mechanism behind increased BDNF production in mammals due to exercise,” says study senior investigator and cell biologist Moses Chao, PhD. “Unraveling the mysteries of BDNF is important as we seek more ways to naturally keep mammalian brains healthy, including those or people,” said Chao, a professor at NYU Langone and its Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine. To read more, click here.

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