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Small amount of exercise could protect against memory loss in elderly, CU study suggests
Date:8/9/2011

said.

In the study, the researchers found that rats infected with E. coli bacteria experienced detrimental effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain that mediates learning and memory.

Previous research has shown that immune cells of the brain, called microglia, become more reactive with age. When the older rats in the study encountered a bacterial infection, these immune cells released inflammatory molecules called cytokines in an exaggerated and prolonged manner.

"In the current study we found that small amounts of voluntary exercise prevented the priming of microglia, the exaggerated inflammation in the brain, and the decrease of growth factors," Barrientos said.

The next step of this research is to examine the role that stress hormones may play in sensitizing microglia, and whether physical exercise slows these hormones in older rats, she said.


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Contact: Ruth Barrientos
ruth.barrientos@colorado.edu
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert

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