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Exercise Enhances and Protects Brain Function

Cotman, Carl W.; Engesser-Cesar, Christie

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: April 2002 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 75-79

COTMAN, C.W., and C. ENGESSER-CESAR. Exercise enhances and protects brain function. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 75–79, 2002. Physical activity, in the form of voluntary wheel running, induces gene expression changes in the brain. Animals that exercise show an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a molecule that increases neuronal survival, enhances learning, and protects against cognitive decline. Microarray analysis of gene expression provides further support that exercise enhances and supports brain function.

Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine

Accepted for publication: December 27, 2001.

Address for correspondence: Carl W. Cotman, Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-4540 (E-mail:

©2002 The American College of Sports Medicine