Exercise may slow diseases that cause blindness
I really hope I can keep up my exercise regimen, but the real benefit for me is not the adrenalin rush or the post-exercise performance advantage. It is the long-lasting protection against deterioration of my brain as I age. I want to see my kids grow up with as intact a mind as possible. I cannot emphasize how important this point is.
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Machelle Pardue and colleagues, from the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and Emory University, test the effect of aerobic exercise on retinal cells undergoing degeneration. Exercise reduced loss of light-sensing cells in mice They worked with two groups of mice, an exercise group and a non-exercise group. The exercise group ran on treadmills for an hour a day on 5 days per week for 2 weeks, while the non-exercise group was placed on stationary treadmills during the same periods. After 2 weeks of exercise, some mice from both groups were exposed to very bright lights (bright enough to damage their retinas) for 4 hours, and the others were exposed to dim lights. The bright lights “caused 75% loss of both retinal function and photoreceptor numbers,” note the researchers.
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