Skip to main content

Dance Your *** Off; Grow a Bigger Brain

Just a week ago we summarized research lead by Neuroscientist Aga Burzynska, PhD that showed that dancing improved brain white matter, while other exercise and the control group didn’t. Now we have another related research study led by Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld that shows important brain improvement from dancing. The research was conducted at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and at the Otto von Geuricke University Medical Center.  Further, dancing achieved better results than an exercise program.

Participants were divided into two groups. One group took dancing lessons. The dance steps and routines became more complex as the study continued. The second group did a combination of endurance training, strength training, flexibility and stretching. Both groups showed measurable improvement. However, the dancers showed more improvement in the part of the brain associated with balance.

From the study: “Results reveal that higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels (VO2 Max) are associated with larger hippocampal volumes in late adulthood, and that larger hippocampal volumes may, in turn, contribute to better memory function.”

As we at www.bigbrain.place have noted before, neurogenesis-growing new brain cells-is associated with learning to do new activities that require concentration and fine motor skills. Dr. Rehfeld’s dance therapy, combining the physical and mental requirements of learning new dance steps-e.g.-bop to salsa-while following the different beats of the changing music, fits that bill.

The results were so encouraging that the study authors are working on creating a new program of dancing and exercise. As they noted: “The dancers showed increases in some hippocampal subfields where there was no change to be observed in the sports (i.e.-exercise) group”.


www.bigbrain.place offers research-based products to help maintain brain health and grow a bigger brain

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: What Matters Now by Gary Hamel

Interview of Eric Schmidt by Gary Hamel at the MLab dinner tonight. Google's Marissa Mayer and Hal Varian also joined the open dialog about Google's culture and management style, from chaos to arrogance. The video just went up on YouTube. It's quite entertaining. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cover of The Future of ManagementMy list of must-read business writers continues to expand.Gary Hamel, however, author of What Matters Now, with the very long subtitle of How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation, has been on the list for quite some time.Continuing his thesis on the need for a new approach to management introduced in his prior book The Future of Management, Hamel calls for a complete rethinking of how enterprises are run.

Fundamental to his recommendation is that the practice of management is ossified in a command and control system that is now generations old and needs to be replaced with something that reflects an educat…

Add This Great Work to Your History Bookshelf

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The more I study American history, the more I realize how little I really know. I just completed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals in which she explores the inter-workings, personalities and politics of the Lincoln administration.Every American schoolboy or schoolgirl knows that Lincoln presided over the most difficult period in American history save the George Washington era.Most know that he struggled with a series of second rate generals until Grant emerged. And that he was tragically assassinated just as the War Between the States ended. But how many of us know that many of the cabinet members opposed Lincoln in the primary?That many of those thought he was unqualified for the office?That one of them – Salmon Chase – actually tried to build support to oppose Lincoln in the 1864 election?Or that Lincoln’s opponent in 1864 was former General McClelland, who so famously failed to take advantage of his…

New Research on How to Use Exercise to Grow a Bigger Brain

The Good News We’re swamped with research on how to grow and maintain a bigger brain into old age. Much of the research emphasizes exercise as essential to brain health at every age. Here’s a summary of relevant baseline research, then we’ll move to some new, interesting and thought-provoking research. Background Dr. Carl Cotman and Dr. Nicole Berchtold of the University of California Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia performed research on aerobic exercise and brain health. Cotman and Berchtold concentrated on “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” (BDNF). Because, in their words “it supports the survival and growth of many neuronal subtypes, including glutamatergic neurons”. In our (very) layman understanding, BDNF is a protein that helps nerve cells do, well, a lot. Grow in particular, as well as get stronger and avoid premature cellular death. Cotman and Berchtold learned that the act of consistent exercise increased levels of BNDF in the hippocampus. This finding was important, b…