A review from UQ’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences uncovered the benefit of exercise on a particular protein involved in brain re-organization and re-learning following a neurological disorder, such as after a stroke.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) proteins, found in the peripheral and central nervous systems, play an important role in brain development, plasticity and survival.
“Increasing BDNF may contribute to the ability of brain cells to grow, change and rejuvenate, and a program of aerobic exercise may increase levels of BDNF in people with a neurological disorder,” Mr. Mackay said.
“People with neurological disorders have the potential to harness neuroplasticity – the ability of brain cells to grow, change and rejuvenate – to help their recovery of motor performance.”
The research team searched six electronic databases up until the end of December 2016, analyzing 984 experimental or observational studies of people with neurological disorders who undertook an exercise intervention.
Studies employed either a program of aerobic exercise, a single bout of aerobic exercise, or both.
Mr. Mackay said that the results propose a new and unique interpretation of the benefits of exercise for people with neurological disorders.
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