Sunday March 29, 2020

If you are running out of Ideas for your New Year’s Resolution, Try Running!

The runners, overall, showed greater functional connectivity or connections between distinct brain regions

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Two people running. Pixabay

New York, December 15, 2016: If you are running out of ideas for your New Year’s resolution, consider running. Researchers have found that runners show greater functional connectivity in brain regions important for tasks such as planning and decision-making.

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“These activities (such as running) that people consider repetitive actually involve many complex cognitive functions — like planning and decision-making — that may have effects on the brain,” said one of the researchers David Raichlen, Associate Professor at University of Arizona, at Tucson in the United States.

For the study, the researchers compared brain scans of young adults engaged in cross-country running to young adults who do not engage in regular physical activity.

Participants were roughly the same age — 18 to 25 — with comparable body mass index and educational levels.

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The runners, overall, showed greater functional connectivity — or connections between distinct brain regions — within several areas of the brain, including the frontal cortex, which is important for cognitive functions such as planning, decision-making and the ability to switch attention between tasks.

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, suggest that running may affect the structure and function of the brain in ways similar to complex tasks like playing a musical instrument.

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Since functional connectivity often appears to be altered in ageing adults, and particularly in those with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases, it is an important measure to consider, Gene Alexander, Professor at University of Arizona, noted. (IANS)

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2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to be Postponed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus Forces Delay of 2020 Olympics

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Tokyo olympics
A man wearing protective face mask, following the outbreak of the coronavirus, looks at his mobile phone next to The Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympics Museum in Tokyo, Japan. VOA

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.

Although the International Olympic Committee had said it would spend up to a month debating the matter, the decision to postpone became inevitable after several countries said they would not send athletes if the Games were held this summer.

“The IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later that summer 2021 to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community,” the IOC and the Japanese organizing committee said in a joint statement Tuesday.

Tokyo olympics
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to the journalists in front of the prime minister’s residence in Tokyo. VOA

Both committees say they made their decision after consulting with the World Health Organization. Abe and the IOC had said that canceling the Games had always been out of the question.

“The Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the IOC said.

Abe told reporters in Tokyo that when the Games finally gets under way, it will prove that “humanity had beat the coronavirus.”

The Summer Games were to have opened July 24.

Team USA, which represents triathlon and duathlon Olympic contenders, tweeted its thanks to the Tokyo organizers for what it says is “all you have done for a great Olympic and Paralympic Games. We wish you all the best as you keep your communities safe and offer our cooperation and support as you prepare to host the world.”

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A man takes pictures of the Olympic Flame during a ceremony in Fukushima City, Japan. VOA

The Olympics have been canceled three times since the modern Games began in 1896. They were scrapped in 1916 during World War I and in 1940 and 1944 during World War II.

The Games have been boycotted, propagandized by Nazi Germany, and attacked by terrorists, but have never before been postponed.

Japanese organizers said Tuesday they are also postponing the Olympic torch relay that was supposed to start Thursday.

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The flame arrived in Japan from its traditional lighting in Greece on March 12. It was supposed to have traveled around Japan, to be used to light the flame at the opening ceremonies in Tokyo.

The torch will remain in Fukushima until the Games are firmly rescheduled. (VOA)