Motion, Relation, and Passion in Brain Physiological and Cognitive Aging

Nothing new here… just a reminder (to myself if nobody else). And I view this website as helping in all three areas… it helps us optimize our motion/exercise, positive social interactions, and learning new things!

A 2022 scientific article published in the journal Brain Sciences by Scandinavian researchers theorized that in order to keep your memory sharp — despite aging — you should continuously focus on three things: motion (physical exercise), relation (social interactions), and passion (learning new things). These are considered key elements for contrasting the loss of the grey and white matter of the brain. So, in order to keep your memory up to snuff, it’s important to stay active, stay socially connected, and have hobbies.

Open access paper:

The aim of the current paper was to present important factors for keeping the basic structures of a person’s brain function, i.e., the grey and white matter, intact. Several lines of evidence have shown that motion, relation, and passion are central factors for preserving the neural system in the grey and white matter during ageing. An active lifestyle has shown to contribute to the development of the central nervous system and to contrast brain ageing. Interpersonal relationships, and interactions, have shown to contribute to complex biological factors that benefit the cognitive resilience to decline. Furthermore, the current scientific literature suggests that passion, strong interest, could be the driving factor motivating individuals to learn new things, thus influencing the development and maintenance of the neural functional network over time. The present theoretical perspective paper aims to convey several key messages: (1) brain development is critically affected by lifestyle; (2) physical training allows one to develop and maintain brain structures during ageing, and may be one of the keys for good quality of life as an older person; (3) diverse stimuli are a key factor in maintaining brain structures; (4) motion, relation, and passion are key elements for contrasting the loss of the grey and white matter of the brain.


Just 6 minutes of high-intensity activity could delay Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers found that a short but intense bout of exercise (cycling, in this case, but it would apply to other forms of exercise, too) increased the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that protects brain cells and promotes learning and memory. Previous studies have shown that higher BDNF levels are associated with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to give your brain a boost.

Intermittent fasting and exercise provide neuroprotection from age-related cognitive decline. A link between these two seemingly distinct stressors is their capability to steer the brain away from exclusively glucose metabolism. This cerebral substrate switch has been implicated in upregulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein involved in neuroplasticity, learning and memory, and may underlie some of these neuroprotective effects. We examined the isolated and interactive effects of (1) 20-h fasting, (2) 90-min light exercise, and (3) high-intensity exercise on peripheral venous BDNF in 12 human volunteers. A follow-up study isolated the influence of cerebrovascular shear stress on circulating BDNF. Fasting for 20 h decreased glucose and increased ketones (P ≤ 0.0157) but had no effect on BDNF (P ≥ 0.4637). Light cycling at 25% of peak oxygen uptake (◂◽.▸) increased serum BDNF by 6 ± 8% (independent of being fed or fasted) and was mediated by a 7 ± 6% increase in platelets (P < 0.0001). Plasma BDNF was increased from 336 pg l−1 [46,626] to 390 pg l−1 [127,653] by 90-min of light cycling (P = 0.0128). Six 40-s intervals at 100% of ◂◽.▸ increased plasma and serum BDNF, as well as the BDNF-per-platelet ratio 4- to 5-fold more than light exercise did (P ≤ 0.0044). Plasma BDNF was correlated with circulating lactate during the high-intensity intervals (r = 0.47, P = 0.0057), but not during light exercise (P = 0.7407). Changes in cerebral shear stress – whether occurring naturally during exercise or induced experimentally with inspired CO2 – did not correspond with changes in BDNF (P ≥ 0.2730). BDNF responses to low-intensity exercise are mediated by increased circulating platelets, and increasing either exercise duration or particularly intensity is required to liberate free BDNF.



If I could only keep one longevity factor, it would be intense, sweaty exercise.

BTW, I use Strava for my virtual biking; we could start a Rapamycin group if anyone is interested!

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