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The myth of runner's high revisited with brain imaging
Date:3/3/2008

Throughout the world, amateurs, experts and the media agree that prolonged jogging raises people's spirits. And many believe that the bodys own opioids, so called endorphins, are the cause of this. But in fact this has never been proved until now. Researchers at the Technische Universitt Mnchen and the University of Bonn succeeded to demonstrate the existence of an endorphin driven runners high. In an imaging study they were able to show, for the first time, increased release of endorphins in certain areas of the athletes' brains during a two-hour jogging session. Their results are also relevant for patients suffering from chronic pain, because the bodys own opiates are produced in areas of the brain which are involved in the suppression of pain. The researchers, some of whom are also members of the German Research Network of Neuropathic Pain (Deutscher Forschungsverbund Neuropathischer Schmerz, DFNS), which is also funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium fr Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), thereby show that jogging not only makes you high, but can also relieve pain. The results of the study have now been published in the scientific journal 'Cerebral Cortex'.

Runner's high

Endurance sports have long been seen as reducing stress, relieving anxiety, enhancing mood and decreasing the perception of pain. The high that accompanies jogging even led to the creation of its own term, runner's high. Yet the cause of these positive effects on the senses was not clear until now. The most popular theory was and still is the 'Endorphin Hypothesis', which claimed that there was increased production of the bodys own opioids in the brain. However, since until now direct proof of this theory could not be provided; for technical reasons, it was a constant source of controversial discussions in scientific circles. The result was that the myth of 'runner's high through endorphins' lived on.

Scientists confirm the
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Contact: Dr. Henning Boecker
Henning.boecker@ukb.uni-bonn.de
49-022-828-715-970
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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