It's Time to Pump (Your Brain) Up

It's Time to Pump (Your Brain) Up

The approach that Kan Ding, MD, Takashi Tarumi, PhD, and team used to evaluate brain health in relation to breathing is unique and interesting. They used oxygen uptake as a measure of fitness. You’ve likely seen a tv commercial or video with a professional athlete or perhaps an Olympic hopeful running or biking with a mask and tube strapped to their face. That equipment is measuring “VO2Max” or the use of oxygen by someone exercising. Distance runners, cross-country skiers and the like must consume and burn oxygen highly efficiently if they want to be competitive

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center recently opened its new Brain Institute. That’s where Doctors Ding, Tarumi and associates work. They recruited 91 participants diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. Generally, that means they were able to care for themselves but were noticing some memory difficulty. Participants in the study had VO2Max measured, had brain image scans, and various tests of cognition performed. The conclusion: the lower the fitness level, the faster the deterioration in brain fiber. Specifically, the deterioration of white matter. We’ve mentioned white matter previously. It is bundles of axons which connect various gray matter areas to each other and to the spinal cord. It’s one of the foundation parts of the brain and its operation.  White matter is critical to taking it new information, assessing its importance (or lack thereof) and make good, timely decisions. That ability is associated with lower risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Link to the underlying research here.

Fire up the exercise bike. (You do know that we offer a great, lightweight travel exercise kit with stretch bands and loops, right?)


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