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Running Rat Memory

August 18, 2017

Exercise helps young rats build long-lasting brain capacity.



Exercise could lead to long term brain gains. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Rats who run on an exercise wheel when they’re young have better memories when they’re much older. This according to University of Toronto neuroscientist Martin Wojtowicz (VOYT-eh-vitch) and his colleagues, writing in the journal eNeuro.

MARTIN WOJTOWICZ (University of Toronto):

Voluntary running — they run as much as they wanted as long as they wanted — had a beneficial effect on learning much later in life, corresponding to mid-age or even advanced age in humans.


Wojtowicz says the exercise leads to growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory. The brain changes are similar to those caused by being in stimulating environments. But why exercising the body should lead to some of the same effects as stimulating the brain is still a mystery. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon