Jogging mice show how to boost brain power

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The Independent Online
EXERCISE DOES improve the mind, according to research that shows brain power can be boosted by running.

A study of mice found those with access to a running wheel were better at learning and memorising than mice that did not exercise. The scientists who did the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, believe the findings show it may be possible for people to prevent mental deterioration in old age by jogging or doing other exercise.

Fred Gage, who led the researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, said there was growing evidence to implicate inactivity with brain degeneration. He was the first scientist to show human brain cells can regenerate, contrary to accepted dogma.

The mice in the study voluntarily ran on average about five kilometres a night, said Henriette van Praag, one of the Salk researchers. "Given the opportunity, mice love to run," she said.