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RESEARCH ROUND-UP A CALMING INFLUENCE S


cientists at the University of Princeton, US, have discovered that exercise has an impact on neurons in the brain, ‘rewiring’ it to make it more resilient to stress. In the study, one group of mice was given unlimited access


to a running wheel; another group was not and remained sedentary and caged. As natural runners, mice will cover up to 2.5 miles daily on a wheel. After six weeks, all mice were briefly exposed to cold water, with brain activity analysed. In the neurons of the sedentary mice, the shock spurred an


increase in ‘immediate early genes’ – short-lived genes that are rapidly turned on when a neuron fires. The active mice did not have these genes in their neurons, suggesting their brain cells did not immediately leap into an excited state in response to the cold water. In the active mice, there was also a boost of activity in


inhibitory neurons that keep excitable neurons in check. In addition, their brain neurons released more of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which dampens neural excitement. And there were higher levels of a protein that helps deliver and release GABA into the brain. ■ Gould, E et al. Journal of Neuroscience (2013)


FIT FOR SURGERY


Exercise makes the brain more resilient to stress


F


itness, not age, should be used to determine whether older people can have an operation, says new research based on 389 adults – aged between 26 and 86 years


and with a mean age of 66 – who had liver surgery. Each patient’s fitness was measured before their operation


via a maximal exercise test. Those who were fit and aged under 75 had a mortality rate after surgery of less than 1 per cent. This rose slightly to 4 per cent for patients who were fit and aged over 75. For patients who were unfit and under 75, the mortality rate was 11 per cent, jumping to 21 per cent for those who were aged over 75 and unfit. In addition, regardless of age, people who were physically


unfit took longer to recover from their operation, spending an average of 11 days longer in hospital after surgery. Another recent study published in the American Journal


of Cardiology showed the chance of fit heart bypass patients dying after surgery was only 1 per cent, going up to 5 per cent among unfit patients. ■ Trenell, M and Snowden, C et al. Annals of Surgery (2013)


70 Sports Management Handbook 2014-2015 www.sportshandbook.com


Fitter patients are more likely to survive surgery


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