Every individual at some point of his or her life must have heard about the pertinence of activity. It is this activity which is directly associated to the remodeling of the brain and making of new brain cells. Neurological studies have already made sure, that the brain has the capacity to be reshaped throughout the lifetime. And, if the researches are to be believed (which are indeed promising!) the inactivity too has an impact on the remodeling of the brain.
Until recently not much evidence for the latter was available, however, a recent study published has promising result.
A study was recently published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology. This is the entire experiment:
A dozen rats were gathered for the experiment by the scientists at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Half of them were settled in cage with running wheels. Rats like running and during the experiment covered almost 3 miles a day on the wheels.
The other rats were housed in cages, without any wheel and they remained inactive. The scientists waited for 3 months for the group of rats to pursue their group process. Then, the rats were injected with special dye which colors specific neurons of the brain. The motive that scientists had was to mark neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla of the animals.
The Rostral ventrolateral medulla:
Gives signal to the sympathetic nervous system of the body.
Controls blood pressure by changing constriction of the blood vessels.
It will be imperative in here, for the readers to know that well regulated sympathetic nervous system is the requisite. But, if the nervous system is overly responsive, it leads to problems such as cardiovascular damage and high blood pressure. This can occur, if the sympathetic nervous system receives way too many garbled messages from neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla.
What was the result of the experiment?
The scientists found noticeable differences between the 2 groups in the shape of the some of the neurons:
- The neurons in the brains of the running rats were very much similar to that at the start of the study.
- However, the neurons in the brains of the inactive rats had sprouted, leading to tentacle-like arms, known as branches.
- It is these branches which were making normal neurons more sensitive towards stimuli.
- It is this aspect, which was making them over stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the blood pressure and developing the heart disease.
This is definitely a short-term study pursued on rats. However, the aspect which is very much clear is that when there is no movement, it results in wide-ranging physiological effects. In accordance with Dr. Mueller, the finding is of significance, because it enhances the understanding of inactivity on a cellular level. He also adds that, the research has made sure that inactivity enhances the risk of heart diseases.