Physical activity boosts neural connections as per a newly published study featuring in the Current Biology journal. Italian researchers with the University of Pisa wanted to gain deeper insight in the connection between a healthy mind and a healthy body.
Based on previous research highlighting the importance of exercise in maintaining a healthy brain, the research team took a closer look at the link between physical activity and brain repair, memory boosting and learning. Their findings offer a key to preventing certain neural connections conditions, aiding people to overcome such issues as lazy eye.
Previous research conducted on mice suggested that physical activity improved the mice’s visual cortexes connections. Inspired by these results, the Italian research team conducted a similar study including 20 participants.
Each of the participants had one eye covered throughout watching a movie lasting two hours. A second part of the study saw the participants exercising on a stationary bike in 10-minute-intervals while having one eye covered with an eye patch and watching the same two-hour-long movie.
According to the researchers, the eye patch triggered a reaction in the visual cortex. The closed eye became stronger as the visual cortex was prompted to compensate for the absence of visual input. As a result, an imbalance is created which allowed the researchers to search of new visual pathways created in the brain. The process is known as neuroplasticity.
Studying this link with each of the 20 participants, the research team found that physical activity boosts neural connections, leading to higher neuroplasticity and better vision with the one eye remaining uncovered.
Claudia Lunghi with the National Research Council Neuroscience Institute at the University of Pisa declared that even moderate exercise boosts neuroplasticity in the visual cortex. As such, the authors suggest that their findings could aid the treatment of adult patients presenting a lazy eye.
Having a lazy eye is a condition also known as amblyopia and is caused by a deficient communication between the brain and the optic nerve. Lazy eye affects approximately three of 100 children. Amblyopia develops into adulthood if it’s left untreated during childhood.
However, the newly published study in addition to modern research has shown that lazy eye can be treated even with adults. Physical activity boosts neural connections, increasing neuroplasticity in the visual cortex as new pathways are created.
Physical activity benefits our health in a myriad of ways. So pick up the habit of even moderate exercise if you’re looking to improve your health considerably.
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