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Healthy Lifestyle Helps Brain to Scrap Its Waste

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2024-04-08 16:02:53 | Author: Staff Reporters

A woman sleeps in her bed. (PHOTO:VCG)

By Staff Reporters

While a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, is known to be beneficial for the body, its effect on the mind was not clear. However, researchers from the Nedergaard group at the University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered how a healthy lifestyle correlates with improved brain function. The findings were detailed in a 2018 study published in Neuroscience Letters.

Though the human brain makes up only two percent of the body’s mass, its efficient operation requires 20 percent of the body’s total energy. Our brain makes it possible for us to perceive our surroundings, interact with others, and recall how to work every morning, but it comes at a cost.

High energy consumption by brain cells called neurons causes them to spew forth a lot of trash, which floats around the brain and interferes with regular brain function. This waste is mainly made up of leftover proteins, which can aggregate into brain-toxic clumps if left unchecked. The decreased cognition, memory loss and reduced general brain function of Alzheimer's patients have been specifically linked to the clumping of the protein amyloid beta.

A good night’s sleep matters a lot

It's a known fact that we feel refreshed and clear-headed after a vigorous workout or a restful night's sleep. The glymphatic system explains why getting enough sleep improves cognition. The Nedergaard group's research found a link between an increase in glymphatic brain clearance and healthy living actions. The findings imply that in addition to its established significance for processes like memory consolidation and formation, sleep is also essential for the removal of toxic waste from the brain, which frees up the brain to perform as efficiently as possible during the hours we are awake.

Exercise benefits the mind

People who exercise regularly have been demonstrated to have better moods, better memories and reduced worry. A recent study from Nedergaard's lab demonstrated that exercise can also have a good impact on the glymphatic system's functionality.

These findings offer an explanation for how exercise benefits the brain. The brain may need the increased glymphatic flow that occurs after exercise in order to remove waste and perform at its peak.

So in order to improve our brain’s functions during the hours we are awake and prevent neurodegenerative diseases, a good sleep and regular exercise are better lifestyle choices.

Editor: 毕炜梓

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