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Brain power of exercise revealed

Brain power of exercise revealed

Identical twins study shows grey matter boosted by exercise

A new study of identical twins, published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport & Exercise, revealed how different exercise routines can change the bodies and brains of those sharing identical DNA.

The Finnish researchers found 10 sets of identical male twins in their 30's whose exercise habits were similar growing up, but had diverged in the previous 3 years.

In the study one twin had maintained regular exercise, but the other had become largely sedentary due to family of work commitments.

Despite similar diets and similar appearance, the story beneath the surface was quite different.

Predictably, the sedentary twins had more body fat, showed signs of insulin resistance and lower endurance. What the researchers didn't expect is the difference in their brains. The active twins had significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination.

While it was a small scale study and not a formal randomized trial, the researchers believe the results strongly imply that the differences in the twin’s exercise habits caused the differences in their bodies.

This new research:  

Link to article in Science Alert

Reference to article:

Physical activity, fitness, glucose homeostasis, and brain morphology in twins.

Rottensteiner M, Leskinen et al

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Mar;47(3):509-18. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000437.

As published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport & Exercise

Volume 47, Issue 3, March 2015