Exercise aids recovery from brain injury

November 20, 2017, University of Queensland
Exercise aids recovery from brain injury
Credit: University of Queensland

Exercise is an important part of recovery for people with brain injury, University of Queensland researchers have found.

A review from UQ's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences uncovered the benefit of on a particular protein involved in re-organisation and re-learning following a neurological disorder, such as after a stroke.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) proteins, found in the peripheral and central nervous systems, play an important role in brain development, plasticity and survival.

PhD candidate Christopher Mackay said the review discovered that exercise could positively affect BDNF in people with brain conditions.

"Increasing BDNF may contribute to the ability of to grow, change and rejuvenate, and a program of may increase levels of BDNF in people with a ," Mr Mackay said.

"People with neurological disorders have potential to harness neuroplasticity – the ability of brain cells to grow, change and rejuvenate – to help their recovery of motor performance."

The research team searched six electronic databases up until the end of December 2016, analysing 984 experimental or observational studies of people with neurological disorders who undertook an exercise intervention.

Studies employed either a program of aerobic exercise, a single bout of aerobic exercise, or both.

Mr Mackay said that the results propose a new and unique interpretation of the benefits of exercise for people with neurological disorders.

"Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the positive impacts of aerobic exercise, including increased blood flow in the brain, changes to neurotransmitter release, structural changes in the central nervous system, and altered arousal levels," he said.

"Now we have evidence that aerobic exercise has a positive impact on levels of BDNF in neurological patients.

"Including regular aerobic exercise as a component of rehabilitation may show improvements in walking, functional ability, and improved ."

The review is published in Neural Plasticity journal.

Explore further: Exercise maintains brain size, new research finds

More information: "The Effect of Aerobic Exercise on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in People with Neurological Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," Neural Plasticity, DOI: 10.1155/2017/4716197

Related Stories

Exercise maintains brain size, new research finds

November 13, 2017
Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.

Aerobic fitness and hormones predict recognition memory in young adults

December 2, 2013
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found further evidence that exercise may be beneficial for brain health and cognition. The findings, which are currently available online in Behavioural Brain ...

Just 30 minutes of exercise has benefits for the brain

October 27, 2014
University of Adelaide neuroscientists have discovered that just one session of aerobic exercise is enough to spark positive changes in the brain that could lead to improved memory and coordination of motor skills.

Can a single exercise session benefit your brain?

June 12, 2017
In a new review of the effects of acute exercise published in Brain Plasticity, researchers not only summarize the behavioral and cognitive effects of a single bout of exercise, but also summarize data from a large number ...

HIIT releases endorphins in the brain

August 25, 2017
Finnish researchers at the University of Turku have revealed that exercise-induced endorphin release in the brain depends on the intensity of the exercise. Endorphin release induced by exercise may be an important mechanism ...

Yoga and aerobic exercise together may improve heart disease risk factors

October 19, 2017
Heart disease patients who practice yoga in addition to aerobic exercise saw twice the reduction in blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels when compared to patients who practiced either Indian yoga or aerobic ...

Recommended for you

Brainwaves show how exercising to music bends your mind

February 18, 2018
Headphones are a standard sight in gyms and we've long known research shows listening to tunes can be a game-changer for your run or workout.

To sleep, perchance to forget

February 17, 2018
The debate in sleep science has gone on for a generation. People and other animals sicken and die if they are deprived of sleep, but why is sleep so essential?

Lab-grown human cerebellar cells yield clues to autism

February 16, 2018
Increasing evidence has linked autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with dysfunction of the brain's cerebellum, but the details have been unclear. In a new study, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital used stem cell technology ...

Fragile X syndrome neurons can be restored, study shows

February 16, 2018
Fragile X syndrome is the most frequent cause of intellectual disability in males, affecting one out of every 3,600 boys born. The syndrome can also cause autistic traits, such as social and communication deficits, as well ...

Brain-machine interface study suggests how brains prepare for action

February 16, 2018
Somewhere right now in Pyeongchang, South Korea, an Olympic skier is thinking through the twists and spins she'll make in the aerial competition, a speed skater is visualizing how he'll sneak past a competitor on the inside ...

Humans blink strategically in response to environmental demands

February 16, 2018
If a brief event in our surroundings is about to happen, it is probably better not to blink during that moment. A team of researchers at the Centre for Cognitive Science from Technische Universität Darmstadt published a ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.