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It’s well-known that exercise sharpens the mind. Now researchers at the University of California San Francisco have found that blood from mice that exercise regularly can perk up the mental faculties of mice that don’t.
The study was simple: researchers put exercise wheels in cages with mice. The mice ran for miles overnight. After a few weeks, the scientists took blood from those mice and injected it eight times over 21 days into mice who lacked wheels and got little exercise.
The idle mice receiving the blood did almost as well on mental tasks, such as learning the way through a maze, as did the mice that exercised.
A control group of mice that received blood from other idle mice showed no benefits.
The mice who got the blood also grew twice as many new neurons in the region of their brains involved in memory and learning, about the same gain as the mice who logged hours on their wheels.
The research team analyzed blood from the active mice to see what changed in them. They found sharp increases in a protein made in the mice’s liver known as Gpld1. When they injected Gpld1 into the tail veins of inactive mice, their livers produced the protein and conveyed almost the same mental benefits as the mice who received blood from the marathon mice.
The scientists found higher Gpld1 levels in the blood of elderly people who worked out regularly than in those who didn’t, indicating that the mouse results could translate to people.
TRENDPOST: The research results open a path that could convey the mental benefits of exercise to people with injuries or disabilities that prevent them from exercising – or to people too lazy to get off the couch.

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