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D. Keeping the Brain Healthy

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you need incentive to exercise, researchers at the University of California at Irvine have discovered another benefit of physical activity. Dr. Carl Cotman of the Institute of Brain Aging and Dementia has found that exercising stimulates a growth factor in the brain which keeps neurons healthy.

Cotman: The brain in rats that have run for just a few nights actually increases the production or gene expression of a neural trophic factor and that particular factor is known to be involved in keeping neurons healthier and protecting them from cell death mechanisms.

Narrator: Cotman's lab also found that vitamin E supplements slowed down the onset of Alzheimer's Disease in patients with mild to moderate symptoms by up to 25% in a two year period.

Cotman: I mean, that's pretty impressive. And the exciting thing would be if it actually restores rather than just slows down and I have a funny intuition that if we can get these things early enough, given what we know about the basic cell biology and molecular biology of a cell, that some of these cells may come back again

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.