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Brain Size May Increase with Exercise, According to Study

Brain Size May Increase with Exercise, According to Study 86

Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.

In a first of its kind international collaboration, researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University and the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK examined the effects of aerobic exercise on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.

Brain health decreases with age, with the average brain shrinking by approximately five per cent per decade after the age of 40.

Studies in mice and rats have consistently shown that physical exercise increases the size of the hippocampus but until now evidence in humans has been inconsistent.

The researchers systematically reviewed 14 clinical trials which examined the brain scans of 737 people before and after aerobic exercise programs or in control conditions.

The participants included a mix of healthy adults, people with mild cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s and people with a clinical diagnosis of mental illness including depression and schizophrenia. Ages ranged from 24 to 76 years with an average age of 66.

The researchers examined effects of aerobic exercise, including stationary cycling, walking, and treadmill running. The length of the interventions ranged from three to 24 months with a range of 2-5 sessions per week.

Overall, the results – published in the journal NeuroImage – showed that, while exercise had no effect on total hippocampal volume, it did significantly increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus in humans.

Lead author, NICM postdoctoral research fellow, Joseph Firth said the study provides some of the most definitive evidence to date on the benefits of exercise for brain health.

“When you exercise you produce a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which may help to prevent age-related decline by reducing the deterioration of the brain,” Mr. Firth said.

“Our data showed that, rather than actually increasing the size of the hippocampus per se, the main ‘brain benefits’ are due to aerobic exercise slowing down the deterioration in brain size. In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance program for the brain.”

Mr. Firth said along with improving regular ‘healthy’ aging, the results have implications for the prevention of aging-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia – however further research is needed to establish this.

Interestingly, physical exercise is one of the very few ‘proven’ methods for maintaining brain size and functioning into older age.

The paper, “Effects of aerobic exercise on hippocampal volume in humans: a systematic review and meta-analysis” is available online here.

NICM

Science & Technology

Cancer vaccine shown to be safe and effective has entered human trials

Cancer vaccine shown to be safe and effective has entered human trials 89
University of Montreal

A person, like any living creature, can be vaccinated against cancer, although this disease is fundamentally different from viral infections against which vaccines are traditionally used. 

This has been proven by scientists at Ohio University, who developed a methodology for the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Animal studies have shown 90% effectiveness of this therapy and complete safety for the body.

Cancer tumors are extremely insidious and have a defense mechanism against the body’s immune system in the form of the signaling protein PD-1. It is present on both healthy and cancerous cells, and is responsible for the friend-or-foe recognition procedure when immune B and T cells approach them. As long as PD-1 proteins in cancer cells and PD-L1 proteins in lymphocytes are working normally, the immune system simply ignores the infection, not seeing it as a target to attack.

The idea of ​​Dr. Pravin Kaumay, the developer of the inhibitors, is to interfere with the identification procedure. For this purpose, special monoclonal antibodies have been developed, which are injected into the body, seek out PD-1 proteins and settle on them, preventing proper contact with PD-L1 proteins. Lymphocytes cannot recognize these cells and automatically start the procedure for destroying them – the immune system itself begins to eradicate cancerous tumors in the body.

More importantly, blocking the signaling system destroys the usual comfortable environment for cancer cells, they are constantly threatened, cannot grow and spread throughout the body. 

This is the beneficial effect of vaccination with inhibitors – this therapy is called PD1-Vaxx. The technology has been thoroughly tested, it uses second-generation inhibitors, which are much more effective. The first human patients have already been recruited in the US and Australia to test PD1-Vaxx.

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A lack of oxygen leads to aging, excess oxygen leads to immortality

A lack of oxygen leads to aging, excess oxygen leads to immortality 90

Israeli scientists claim that by using only oxygen, they have successfully reversed the biological aging process.

A recent study conducted by Tel Aviv University professor Shai Efrati and a team at Shamir Medical Center showed that when healthy adults over 64 were placed in a pressurized chamber and given pure oxygen for 90 minutes a day, five days a week and within three months, the aging process not only slowed down, but actually changed in the opposite direction.

In particular, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging focused on whether this oxygen enrichment process could reverse two key indicators of biological aging: the contraction of DNA telomeres and the accumulation of senescent cells in tissues. Telomeres are located at the ends of a chromosome, consist of repeating sequences of non-coding DNA, and serve as caps to protect the chromosome from damage during replication.

A lack of oxygen leads to aging, excess oxygen leads to immortality 91

Each time replication occurs, these bumpers take a hit, making the chromosomes shorter and shorter. Once the telomere reaches a certain length, the cell can no longer replicate, which leads to aging: malfunctioning of cells, which ultimately leads to cognitive or other age-related impairments and even diseases such as cancer.

About 35 adults over the age of 64 took part in the study and applied hyperbaric oxygen therapy, using 100% oxygen at an ambient pressure greater than one absolute atmosphere to increase the amount of oxygen dissolved in body tissues.

A lack of oxygen leads to aging, excess oxygen leads to immortality 92

Every 20 minutes, participants were asked to remove their masks for five minutes, returning oxygen to normal levels.

However, during this period, the researchers saw that fluctuations in free oxygen concentration were interpreted at the cellular level as a lack of oxygen – rather than interpreting the absolute level of oxygen.

In other words, repeated intermittent hyperoxic (increased oxygen levels) exposure induced many of the mediators and cellular mechanisms that are usually induced during hypoxia (low oxygen levels). Dr. Efrati calls this the hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox.

“The fluctuations in the oxygen level that we have created is what matters,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “During this process, there is, as it were, a lack of oxygen, which causes cell regeneration.”

The practical consequences of therapy include increased attention, processing speed, and executive function, which tend to decrease with age and about which more than 50% of people over the age of 60 express concern.

According to the study, the changes were equivalent to having the participants’ bodies at the cellular level go back 25 years.

“We’re not [just] slowing aging – we’re moving back in time,” says Dr. Efrati. Efrati has been studying aging for ten years and runs Aviva clinics in Florida. The study, he said, is evidence that the cellular basis of the aging process can be reversed, adding that it “offers hope and opens up the opportunity for many young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”

It could also allow doctors and scientists to find a way to control telomere length and develop drugs to help them grow again when needed. But will it make people live longer?

The duration of the effect has yet to be determined in the long term, says Efrati. But “probably yes.” We know people with shorter telomeres die earlier, so that makes sense.”

At the moment, the only drawback of the study is the limited sample size, that is, so far relatively few people have participated in the experiment, but over time, scientists will solve this problem too.

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Cyberfarm 2077. YouTuber showed what a Russian cyber village could look like

Cyberfarm 2077. YouTuber showed what a Russian cyber village could look like 93
Photo: video screenshot youtube.com/birchpunk

On November 19, the day the Cyberpunk 2077 video game was supposed to be released, a five-minute video about a Russian cyber village appeared on YouTube. It combines the aesthetics of cyberpunk with the life of the Russian provinces.

Cyberfarm 2077. YouTuber showed what a Russian cyber village could look like 94

Russian director and blogger Sergei Vasiliev made a short film that is an excerpt from the life of a fictional Russian village with the technologies of the future. The short film was shot in the style of a video blog. 

“They say that Russia is a technically backward country, there are no roads, no robotics, rockets do not fly, and mail takes too long. [This is not true],” the creators say.

The main character, a farmer called Nikolai, talks about his cyber farm, where three androids work, and invites new workers to his business. The robots milk the cows, walk them and go to fetch water. Instead of a cesspool, there is a black hole in the toilets, and mail is delivered by flying wagons of the Russian Post. New technologies have also solved the problem of Russian roads – cars now fly over it, but even there are holes in the air.

The authors of the short film said that a “creative association of enthusiasts” worked on the creative, and now they “plan to release further videos in the same universe.”

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