Document Detail

High impact running improves learning.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17185007     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Regular physical exercise improves cognitive functions and lowers the risk for age-related cognitive decline. Since little is known about the nature and the timing of the underlying mechanisms, we probed whether exercise also has immediate beneficial effects on cognition. Learning performance was assessed directly after high impact anaerobic sprints, low impact aerobic running, or a period of rest in 27 healthy subjects in a randomized cross-over design. Dependent variables comprised learning speed as well as immediate (1 week) and long-term (>8 months) overall success in acquiring a novel vocabulary. Peripheral levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine) were assessed prior to and after the interventions as well as after learning. We found that vocabulary learning was 20 percent faster after intense physical exercise as compared to the other two conditions. This condition also elicited the strongest increases in BDNF and catecholamine levels. More sustained BDNF levels during learning after intense exercise were related to better short-term learning success, whereas absolute dopamine and epinephrine levels were related to better intermediate (dopamine) and long-term (epinephrine) retentions of the novel vocabulary. Thus, BDNF and two of the catecholamines seem to be mediators by which physical exercise improves learning.
Bernward Winter; Caterina Breitenstein; Frank C Mooren; Klaus Voelker; Manfred Fobker; Anja Lechtermann; Karsten Krueger; Albert Fromme; Catharina Korsukewitz; Agnes Floel; Stefan Knecht
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-12-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Neurobiology of learning and memory     Volume:  87     ISSN:  1074-7427     ISO Abbreviation:  Neurobiol Learn Mem     Publication Date:  2007 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-02     Completed Date:  2007-07-16     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9508166     Medline TA:  Neurobiol Learn Mem     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  597-609     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Neurology, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Affect / physiology
Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
Analysis of Variance
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood
Catecholamines / blood*
Cognition / physiology*
Cross-Over Studies
Dopamine / blood
Epinephrine / blood
Exercise / physiology*,  psychology
Follow-Up Studies
Norepinephrine / blood
Physical Exertion / physiology*
Reference Values
Running / physiology,  psychology
Statistics, Nonparametric
Verbal Learning / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor; 0/Catecholamines; 51-41-2/Norepinephrine; 51-43-4/Epinephrine

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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