Monday, May 21, 2012

Exercise and ADHD

Neuroscience published research on the effects of exercise on ADHD symptoms. The Dartmouth researchers concluded that:
  1. The effects of exercise are different on memory as well as on the brain, depending on whether the exerciser is an adolescent or an adult. 
  2. A gene has been identified which seems to mediate the degree to which exercise has a beneficial effect. This has implications for the potential use of exercise as an intervention for mental illness.
The researchers, Bucci and others, found that "the implication is that exercising during development, as your brain is growing, is changing the brain in concert with normal developmental changes, resulting in your having more permanent wiring of the brain in support of things like learning and memory.  It seems important to [exercise] early in life."

Their hope is someday to be able to look at a person's genotype for brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and determine if a person with ADHD will benefit from exercise instead of medication.

This research once again supports the benefits of children being physically active at a young age.  This is the time when wiring of the brain is taking place so seems obvious that the effects of exercise on learning and memory would be more beneficial the earlier you start. 

Reference: Dartmouth researchers are learning how exercise affects the brain. Retreived from the web on 5/18/12 at 

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