Science explains why exercise is the best medicine for anxiety

he Physical exercise It is the lubricant between body and mind. Whether it's going for a walk to refresh the mind or jogging in the park to recover from a stressful event, we are all aware of the beneficial effect of exercise. sports In our daily lives. In fact, the idea that exercise can prevent anxiety and depression has been supported by accumulating cohort studies in recent years. However, apart from some general interactions between our body's surroundings and our central nervous system, it is unclear what mechanisms within our brain underlie the process of movement-based anxiety resolution.

in it Stady The role of the cerebellum in alleviating movement-induced anxiety was recently published in the journal. nervous cellsgroup Dr. Jingning Zhou from the School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, explores the hypothalamic-cerebellar-amygdala circuit that may mediate movement-based anxiety relief. This circuit of three neurons, in which the cerebellum occupies a central place, connects the motor system with the emotional system.

In particular, the study found a trend of negative correlation between functional connectivity of the cerebellar amygdala and the Hamilton Anxiety Assessment Scale (HAMA) score in patients with bipolar disorder, suggesting an interaction between two brain regions that may be related to anxiety.

Using retrograde transsynaptic rabies tracing and microscopic optical slice tomography (fMOST), researchers have, for the first time, mapped direct long-range afferent projections from cerebellar nuclear neurons to amygdala neurons on a microscopic scale. The circle appears to be well preserved among species.

Furthermore, using miniature fluorescence microscopy, they found that amygdala neurons are active while mice run on a rotating rod, and among them, the majority also respond to optogenetic stimulation of the cerebellar nuclei, suggesting that amygdala-cerebellar cell projections convey exercise-dependent information. .

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Electrophysiological results show that amygdala-cerebellar projections are monosynaptic glutamatergic and can not only excite amygdala neurons, but also elicit long-term potentiation, which may explain the persistent effect of exercise on mood. Visual/chemical activation of amygdala-cerebellar projections significantly improves anxiety, whereas chemical suppression of the projections eliminates the anxiolytic effect of spinning wheel running.

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“The results improve our understanding of the non-motor functions of the cerebellum and the neural mechanisms underlying emotional-motor reactivity and somato-somatic integration,” said Jingning Zhou, who added in a statement. Highlights the development of more effective movement prescriptions for anxiety and mood disorders in general, such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Wave Vigorous, intermittent physical activity (VILPA)“, providing a new strategy for both invasive treatments and non-invasive forms of interventions that target the cerebellum to alleviate anxiety.”

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