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Exploring exercise and the brain through clinical trial

22 February 2018
Professor Perry Bartlett's and his team are conducting clinical trials based on his breakthrough research
Building on forty years of existing research, University of Queensland neuroscientists Professor Bartlett, Dr Daniel Blackmore and Dr Mia Schaumberg are now conducting clinical trials to prove that exercise can prevent and reverse cognitive decline, such as dementia.

Professor Bartlett’s work is focused on understanding how the brain produces new neurons. Neurogenesis is now accepted to be a process that occurs normally in the healthy adult brain, thanks to a discovery by Professor Bartlett. He led a team of researchers who discovered stem cells in the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for learning, spatial navigation and encoding new memories. The discovery challenged the belief that the number of neurons we're born with is fixed and that the brain was unable to regenerate.

Professor Bartlett’s team has discovered that stem cells in the hippocampus, the ‘precursor’ cells that create new neurons, are not lost in the ageing brain, but are just dormant. Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Daniel Blackmore has shown that, at least in mice, these stem cells can be activated by exercise. The team are currently running a clinical trial with 300 human participants to determine the optimal amount and intensity of exercise required to stimulate cognitive improvements in the brain. 

Read more about the clinical trial and to register, contact Dr Mia Schaumberg,  07 3346 8770 or healthybrains@uq.edu.au  or visit: qbi.uq.edu.au/exercisestudy

Source: The University of Queensland

Read more about Professor Bartlett and his collaborator Dr Jhaveri's breakthrough research in Stem Cells Australia: At the frontier of medicine