Navigation Links
Children's brain development is linked to physical fitness
Date:9/15/2010

CHAMPAIGN, lll. Researchers have found an association between physical fitness and the brain in 9- and 10-year-old children: Those who are more fit tend to have a bigger hippocampus and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers.

The new study, which used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the relative size of specific structures in the brains of 49 child subjects, appears in the journal Brain Research.

"This is the first study I know of that has used MRI measures to look at differences in brain between kids who are fit and kids who aren't fit," said University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who led the study with doctoral student Laura Chaddock and kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman. "Beyond that, it relates those measures of brain structure to cognition."

The study focused on the hippocampus, a structure tucked deep in the brain, because it is known to be important in learning and memory. Previous studies in older adults and in animals have shown that exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus. A bigger hippocampus is associated with better performance on spatial reasoning and other cognitive tasks.

"In animal studies, exercise has been shown to specifically affect the hippocampus, significantly increasing the growth of new neurons and cell survival, enhancing memory and learning, and increasing molecules that are involved in the plasticity of the brain," Chaddock said.

Rather than relying on second-hand reports of children's physical activity level, the researchers measured how efficiently the subjects used oxygen while running on a treadmill.

"This is the gold standard measure of fitness," Chaddock said.

The physically fit children were "much more efficient than the less-fit children at utilizing oxygen," Kramer said.

When they analyzed the MRI data, the researchers found that the physically fit children tended to have bigger hippocampal volume about 12 percent bigger relative to total brain size than their out-of-shape peers.

The children who were in better physical condition also did better on tests of relational memory the ability to remember and integrate various types of information than their less-fit peers.

"Higher fit children had higher performance on the relational memory task, higher fit children had larger hippocampal volumes, and in general, children with larger hippocampal volumes had better relational memory," Chaddock said.

Further analyses indicated that a bigger hippocampus boosted performance on the relational memory task.

"If you remove hippocampal volume from the equation," Chaddock said, "the relationship between fitness and memory decreases."

The new findings suggest that interventions to increase childhood physical activity could have an important effect on brain development, Kramer said.

"We knew that experience and environmental factors and socioeconomic status all impact brain development," he said.

"If you get some lousy genes from your parents, you can't really fix that, and it's not easy to do something about your economic status. But here's something that we can do something about," Kramer said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Parents Want Electronic Access to Their Childrens Docs: Survey
2. OHSU researchers able to determine brain maturity through analyzing MRI scans
3. Study shows tranquil scenes have positive impact on brain
4. CU-Boulder study sheds light on how our brains get tripped up when were anxious
5. Leading brain scientists meet in Milwaukee to examine how to uncover the brains secrets
6. Brain stimulation can help partially paralyzed stroke patients regain use of their muscles
7. National study finds 70 percent increase in basketball-related traumatic brain injuries
8. Strategy discovered to prevent Alzheimers-associated traffic jams in the brain
9. Brain Scans Could Spot Developmental Problems in Kids
10. Mapping a brain atlas
11. Researchers urge reclassification of traumatic brain injury as chronic disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Children's brain development is linked to physical fitness
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health ... of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards ... at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have ... these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as ... Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association ... it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance ... 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San ... Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from ... adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... today at the Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra ... authored journal articles published in Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Guerbet announced today that it has been named a ... One of 12 suppliers to receive the ... of Premier members through exceptional local customer service and ... lower costs. "We ... customer service from Premier," says Massimo Carrara , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... Analysis (United States, China, Japan, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, ... offering. Surgical Procedure ... planners, provides surgical procedure volume data in a geographic ... in-depth analysis of growth drivers and inhibitors, including world ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 The ... it continues to present great opportunities to investors. Stock-Callers.com ... today: Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON ), Vertex ... Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA ), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ... these stocks and receive your complimentary trade alerts at: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: