Exercise Builds Brain Structure in Schizophrenia

Sunday, February 28, 2010
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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An astounding study has shown that aerobic exercise1 can generate new brain structure in vital regions of the brain affected by schizophrenia.

The researchers looked specifically at the size of the hippocampus, which is regulated in tandem with the entorhinal cortex, brain structures needed for memory, learning, and appropriate behavior. 

Following a three month aerobic exercise training program the hippocampus size of schizophrenia patients increased by 12%.  Nerve transmission within the hippocampus had improved and memory tests also improved. 

It now appears that the front line support for schizophrenia and psychosis should include aerobic exercise, DHA fish oil, and other nutrients that promote healthy brain structure and improved synaptic plasticity. 

Simply relying on drugs like atypical antipsychotics to suppress symptoms is not going to do anything to solve the brain connectivity issues at the source of this problem.  Rather, these drugs make a person overweight and even diabetic, in turn making them more unfit and less likely to do the exercise that would actually help restore the structure of their brain.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Exercise Helps Schizophrenia  Arch Gen Psychiatry.  Frank-Gerald Pajonk; Thomas Wobrock; Oliver Gruber; Harald Scherk; Dorothea Berner; Inge Kaizl; Astrid Kierer; Stephanie Müller; Martin Oest; Tim Meyer; Martin Backens; Thomas Schneider-Axmann; Allen E. Thornton; William G. Honer; Peter Falkai.

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