Navigation Links
Is athleticism linked to brain size?

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Is athleticism linked to brain size? To find out, researchers at the University of California, Riverside performed laboratory experiments on house mice and found that mice that have been bred for dozens of generations to be more exercise-loving have larger midbrains than those that have not been selectively bred this way.

Theodore Garland's lab measured the brain mass of these uniquely athletic house mice, bred for high voluntary wheel-running, and analyzed their high-resolution brain images. The researchers found that the volume of the midbrain a small region of the brain that relays information for the visual, auditory, and motor systems in the bred-for-athleticism mice was nearly 13 percent larger than the midbrain volume in the control or "regular" mice.

"To our knowledge, this is the first example in which selection for a particular mammalian behavior high voluntary wheel running in house mice in our set of experiments has been shown to result in a change in size of a specific brain region," said Garland, a professor of biology and the principal investigator of the research project.

Study results appeared online Jan. 16 in The Journal of Experimental Biology.

In Garland's lab, selection for high voluntary wheel running in lab house mice has been ongoing for nearly 20 years or more than 65 generations of house mice. To analyze brain mass and volume on independent samples of house mice, the researchers dissected the brains into two different regions, the cerebellum, a region of the brain crucial for controlling movement, and the non-cerebellar areas. They then weighed these sections separately.

The cerebellum is important for coordination. The midbrain, a part of the non-cerebellar area that contains a variety of sensory and motor nuclei, is essential for reward learning, motivation and reinforcing behavior. Previously, species of mammals and birds with larger brains have been shown to have higher survivability in novel environments.

The researchers found that compared to regular mice, those mice that had been selectively bred for high voluntary wheel-running had significantly greater midbrain volume as well as larger non-cerebellar brain mass, but not larger cerebella or total brain mass.

The primary question the researchers sought to answer in their study is whether selection on a particular behavioral trait, such as voluntary exercise, using an experimental evolution paradigm, has resulted in a change in brain size. An additional question they posed is whether any change in brain size involves the entire brain or is "mosaic," that is, involving only a section or some sections of the brain.

"Our finding that mice bred for high levels of voluntary exercise have an enlarged non-cerebellar brain mass and an enlarged midbrain, but do not show a statistically significant increase in overall brain mass or volume supports the mosaic theory of brain evolution," Garland said.

What implications the current research has for humans is not immediately clear.

"It is possible that individual differences in the propensity or ability for exercise in humans are associated with individual differences in the size of the midbrain, but no one has studied that," Garland said. "If it were possible to take MRIs of babies' midbrains before these babies started 'exercising' and then follow these babies through life, it may be that inherent, genetically-based differences in midbrain size detected soon after birth will influence how much they would be likely to exercise as adults."


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

Related medicine news :

1. Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk
2. Pesticides May Be Linked to Slightly Smaller Babies, Shorter Pregnancies
3. Pharmacy Robots Linked to Bacterial Contamination of Drugs
4. 2 genetic deletions in human genome linked to the development of aggressive prostate cancer
5. Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors
6. In Mice, Drug Reverses Symptoms of Condition Linked to Autism
7. Huntingtons Disease Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk in Study
8. Study finds significant skull differences between closely linked groups
9. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
10. Swallowing exercises linked with short-term improvement among patients with head and neck cancer
11. Anxiety Linked to Smarts in Brain Study
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Is athleticism linked to brain size?
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has released a report on ... just posted the findings on the website. Click here to read the details ... mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP surgery. Among the 106 ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that will run throughout ... of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary head Check when ... is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage all of our ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that ... ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% ... WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in ... that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to ... dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its ... exclusive list of CAAHEP accredited colleges, as only one of twelve colleges and universities ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 3D bioprinting market is ... a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence ... demands kidney transplantation is expected to boost the market growth, ... organ transplantation. --> 3D bioprinting market is ... a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> ) has announced the ... and Growth Strategies in the German Drugs ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: