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Progression of Parkinson disease could be slowed with exercise

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Progression of Parkinson disease could be slowed with exercise
Progression of Parkinson disease could be slowed with exercise. wikimedia commons
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New York, Dec 23, 2017: Exercise can stop accumulation of a harmful protein which is believed to play a central role in the brain cell death associated with Parkinson’s disease, new research has found.

Engaging in exercise on a running wheel can stop the accumulation of the neuronal protein alpha-synuclein in brain cells, showed the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Parkinson’s disease causes progressive loss of muscle control, trembling, stiffness, slowness and impaired balance.

“Our experiments show that exercise can get to the heart of the problem in Parkinson’s disease,” said one of the researchers Curt Freed, Professor at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in the US.

“People with Parkinson’s who exercise are likely able to keep their brain cells from dying,” Freed added.

The experiment was conducted in a mouse model of Parkinson’s, and the mice in the study, like humans, started to get Parkinson’s symptoms in mid-life. At 12 months of age, running wheels were put in their cages.

The researcehrs found that in the running mice, exercise increased brain and muscle expression of a key protective gene called DJ-1, compared to control transgenic animals which had locked running wheels.

Those rare humans born with a mutation in their DJ-1 gene are guaranteed to get severe Parkinson’s at a relatively young age.

The researchers tested mice that were missing the DJ-1 gene and discovered that their ability to run had severely declined, suggesting that the DJ-1 protein is required for normal movement.

“Our results indicate that exercise may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease by turning on the protective gene DJ-1 and thereby preventing abnormal protein accumulation in brain,” Freed said.

He explained that his animal experiments had very real implications for humans.

Parkinson’s is a disease caused by the death of brain cells that make a critical chemical called dopamine. Without dopamine, voluntary movement is impossible. (IANS)

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Exercise Your Legs For Healthy Brain

Further, they found that restricting exercise lowered the amount of oxygen in the body, which created an anaerobic environment and alters metabolism

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Exercise Your Legs For Healthy Brain
Exercise Your Legs For Healthy Brain. Pixabay

Exercising your legs is necessary for a healthy brain and nervous system, said a new study that showed that neurological health depends on signals sent by leg muscles to the brain and vice versa.

The results gave doctors new clues as to why patients with motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and other neurological diseases often rapidly decline when their movement becomes limited.

Reducing exercise makes it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells — some of the very building blocks that allows one to adapt to stress and challenges in life.

“Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises — such as patients who are bed-ridden, or even astronauts on extended travel — not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted,” said Raffaella Adami from the University of Milan, in Italy.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

During the study, the researchers restricted mice from using their hind legs, but not their front legs for a period of 28 days. They continued to eat and groom normally and did not exhibit stress.

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, showed that limiting their leg activity decreased the number of neural stem cells by 70 per cent compared to a controlled group of mice, which were allowed to use their legs.

Further, they found that restricting exercise lowered the amount of oxygen in the body, which created an anaerobic environment and alters metabolism.

Also Read: Carb-Rich Diet May Affect Brain Health

This research demonstrates the critical role of movement and has a range of potential implications. “It is no accident that we are meant to be active: to walk, run, crouch to sit, and use our leg muscles to lift things,” Adami said.

“Neurological health is not a one-way street with the brain telling the muscles “lift, walk, and so on”, Adami said. (IANS)