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New research on exercise and brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex of those with depressive symptoms

Source: ISEH May 22



Dr Flaminia Ronca and Professor Mark Hamer at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH), recently published research investigating whether a single bout of intense exercise could improve brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex in participants who exhibit depressive symptoms.

One hundred and six adults completed a series of executive function tests (simple reaction time, inhibition, XN attending, working memory) before and after a VO2max test on a treadmill. Brain activity was measured during the cognitive tests.They compared brain activity before and after the 15–20-minute bout of exhaustive exercise.

The outcome revealed that everyone’s performance improved on the cognitive tests, and brain activity in the prefrontal cortex was enhanced by exercise (compared to a control resting group, to account for learning effects). The good news is that everyone improved, leading to the conclusion that exercise can indeed facilitate the engagement of executive functions in people with depressive symptoms

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