A review from UQ’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences uncovered the benefit of exercise on a particular protein involved in brain re-organisation and re-learning following a neurological disorder, such as after a stroke.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) proteins, found in the peripheral and central nervous systems, play an important role in brain development, plasticity and survival.
PhD candidate Christopher Mackay said the review discovered that exercise could positively affect BDNF in people with brain conditions.
“Increasing BDNF may contribute to the ability of brain cells to grow, change and rejuvenate, and a program of aerobic exercise may increase levels of BDNF in people with a neurological disorder,” Mr Mackay said.
“People with neurological disorders have potential to harness neuroplasticity – the ability of brain cells to grow, change and rejuvenate – to help their recovery of motor performance.”