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Yes, A Magic Bullet for Your Brain

I have spoken at length about the importance of exercise for increasing the gene expression of BDNF, a protein that increases the growth of new brain cells. As previously mentioned, research has shown that people with higher levels of BDNF are at a lower risk of developing dementia.

In this new study, exercise in people age 50 or over is demonstrated to have significant effects on cognition. The report is a meta-analysis, meaning a review of other research publications (in this case, 39 studies). It’s a comprehensive look at how exercise impacts the brain!

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  • Larry Kellogg

    I am not a professional in this…but I swear that exercise works!!

    • David Perlmutter

      Science shows us it does!

  • Ronna Berezin

    agree! Ronna Berezin. It heals back pain as well!

  • Rochelle

    Great study! Thank you. We gotta exercise or our body and brain will atrophy, we were designed to move… Physical activities really improve our health.

    • David Perlmutter

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • Jim Bieberich

    Thanks for finding and sharing this meta-study. Too many of my friends (including myself) have found it too easy to become sedentary over 60, noticing that the recall of names, places and events harder than in years past. I’m going to share the BMJ publication with my family physician and friends. THANK YOU!

  • Robert Bradley

    I am curious if there is any correlation to healthier diets associated with people getting more exercise. And if so, did the studies or meta data show any improvement from those who were strict with clean diets vs those who just purposed an exercise routine.

  • B. Maurene White

    Proves what I realized quite a few years ago – after bicycling I always felt more alert and functional. 25 yrs ago I purchased a custom fit bike, keep it on a trakstand and do up to 10 miles/d at a fair clip. Great for fat fighting too. Am 76 now and quite fit. Bloodwork is great, am learning to set up blogs, websites and do computer code. I’m quite sure I would be less functional without the bike. I walk a lot and hike too.

  • Col. Klink

    I have a question regarding your program last week on artificial sweeteners. I would like to know your take on stevia. My understanding is because it’s a natural sweetener, it is much healthier and provides a good alternative to sugar. Would you agree?

    • MuddyGurl

      stevia is incredibly processed..I hear the word “natural” daily.. the only unprrossed stevia is the green powdered plant leaf by KAL.. so much maltodextrin is added to bulk it, (Stevia in the Raw, etc) and now added to the liquid too that it is processed…but benefits from this natural claim unfairly I feel. It MAY be better than SOME AS..but I am uncertain it is. ( I do like it, but use the most raw leaf.)

  • maria

    The Chinese seem to think Tai Chi has benefits, but glad to hear these benefits include benefits to the brain.

  • eileenfb1948 .

    I believe that exercise works but a study of people getting out into society, without the exercise, wouldn’t that also stimulate BDNF? I think stimulation of any kind!

  • Tom Miller

    This is a little off topic but might add something. I started Bikram “hot yoga” In 2009, at age 51. I had been considering back surgery but thankfully chose yoga instead. Not one class went by in the first seven years that I didn’t consider running out of the room or passing out if I tried to do all 26 positions/poses. I also kept an ice chest in my car full of food for the minute I got out of class, as I was starving for fuel. (carboholic) “And Then it Happened”. My doctor, again tried to guilt me into taking statins. (even though my last CT Calcium Score was a perfect 0!) My triglycerides we’re high and from what I could figure out, my cholesterol ratios were a little out of wack. So in search of a better diet to correct the cause, I found the video Cholesterol Conumdrum, by Ivor Cummins. This led me to Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, Real Meal Revolution, and then The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living / Performance, among others. It’s now July 2017 and I’ve been on a LCHF / Ketogenic diet for exactly one year. I’ll wrap it up by saying, that within two weeks of going low carb my yoga struggles disappeared. I started nailing each and every one of the 26 poses and for the most part the heat doesn’t bother me anymore. After class I can go hours without eating and feel great. Not sure why but i’ve quit loosing weight, although I can tell i’m replacing fat with muscle. (My next DEXA scan will be the proof.) Other improvements from my combination of hot yoga and LCHF are; lower triglycerides, improved cholesterol ratios and more. (based on my last two blood tests. Also, within that first few weeks of Keto my acid reflux vanished, my restless legs, stopped being restless and my sleep apnea is gone. As far as the memory goes, its not so good and never has been, but I’m still optimistic. Unfortunately, I experienced way too many concussions and self abuse with drugs and alcohol in my youth. I keep eating, exercising and praying for a little improvement in this area. Thank you Dr. P. for your words of wisdom and continued research.
    I hope I wasn’t too off topic but i’ve been excited about sharing my first year Keto experience.

    • Sandra

      Tom, this week’s study of 60-80 year olds found high intensity interval training HIIT increased mitochondrial activity 69%! 3 days of bicycling and 2 days of moderate treadmill. 18-30 year olds had an increase of 49%.
      Gluten free, dairy free keto with HIIT is my constant goal. My labs are great. From 2 years of positive ANAs to 2 years of negative. Normal c-reactive proteins finally. Beating autoimmune disease.

  • forbes karem

    CURED TOTALLY…
    I was diagnosed of Parkinson disease in January 2015,then my mom was diagnosed of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and my father was diagnosed of ALS me and my family was so frustrated till one day my father came across a forum where so people was writing about Dr George (Good health herbs home), who sells herbs supplements to cure different kinds of deadly diseases,so me and my family decided to give it a try . We contacted Dr George (Good health herbs home) immediately and purchased herbal supplements for Parkinson Diseases,ALS and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). He sent the herbal supplements to me through courier service and i received it within 2days. i used it as instructed and me and my family was totally cured of Parkinson Diseases,ALS and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) within 5 weeks of usage, all thanks to Dr George (Good health herbs home) God bless.
    CONTACT DETAILS;goodhealthherbshomecom

  • DRA60

    Hi Dr. Perlmutter – I have been following you for a while … I am a 57 yo female. 5 yrs ago, I had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine — long story short -> GBS, ADEM, body-wide neuropathic pain (literally from my face to the bottoms of my feet)and cognitive difficulties. At the worst point, I couldn’t hold a pencil, lift a fork to my mouth, pull up my pants, use zippers/buttons/snaps. I couldn’t uncap a tooth of toothpaste. I could not walk fast and had to walk up stairs “on all fours” and had to stop several times. It took 3 years for someone to also determine that I have autonomic dysfunction (or autonomic neuropathy). I used to exercise regularly – gym, spinning, running, biking. I have never been thin and had stocky, big muscles and was very strong physcally for my entire life. In the first year post-vaccine, I lost 35 lbs and every muscle in my body became small, soft, weak. The muscles of y jaws, neck, forearms, shoulders, traps, legs disappeared and skin hung on my body. Now … and this is the weirdest thing … when I move faster in attempt to exercise (at first, it was “activity” was a full set of stairs), my heartrate and breathing rate don’t increase in the slightest bit. My muscles never really “work” and I can’t do strenuous exercise – never remotely reach aerobic levels. Mty muscles crap out almost instantly. When I get to the top of a full set of stairs, I feel as if I have walked up 10 flights, I could drop from fatigue but I’m not breathing hard or out of breath!! My reason for explaining all this is not so you can say “awe, poor you” – I am writing because I am following so many of your recommendations because of significant memory and cognitive issues. BUT I CAN’T EXERCISE!! I always have, I want to, but something in the process is broken. In 5 years, I have come a long way, but all of my myscles are soft flab and I can’t bring them back. I seem to have lost the ability to build strength, endurance – my body won’t condition and improve. My muscles are puny. At my own request, I have asked for a PT but I don’t improve. I understand no pain, no gain – but the pain I experience after attempts at activity is off the charts. I eventually have to stop. Is there ANYthing I can do?? Is autonomic neuropathy permanent or does it just get worse?

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