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Reversing the effects of age through exercise

Professor Perry Bartlett's ground-breaking research in the field of neuroscience is leading to a much greater understanding of dementia and the possibilities of reversing its effects through exercise.

Professor Bartlett is a Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and the inaugural director of the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland. He has historically been responsible for some revolutionary discoveries, particularly around the presence of stem cells in the adult brain that have the capacity to produce new neurons.

More recently, he and his team at the Queensland Brain Institute discovered a latent hippocampal stem cell population that had linkages to learning and memory. This has led to their current body of research in reversing dementia through administering varying amounts of exercise to mice. This pioneering research has critical implications around the potential to reverse dementia in humans. The science behind this discovery is that the stem cells in the brain that typically become inactive in older people, would be reactivated through exercise, causing them to create new nerve cells and therefore improve cognitive function.

It is this revelation that has won him the prestigious CSL Florey Medal award, one of Australian science's biggest prizes awarded once every two years for major advancements in the biomedical or health industries.

The next step in the process for Professor Bartlett's team is to work out exactly how much exercise is necessary in humans to stimulate the stem cells. With trials commencing next year, it is hoped that it will glean insight into whether this cognitive decline can be reversed in the elderly through a specific amount of physical activity.

Professor Bartlett founded the Queensland Brain Institute 13 years ago. It now has more than 500 dedicated staff and students and 36 laboratory heads conducting cutting-edge research into the way the brain works on a daily basis.

Further information

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
18 July, 2017

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