Fresh research may help explain why regular exercise can improve brain power, say Cambridge scientists.
The report, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found mice which exercised performed better on memory tests. These mice also grew more new cells in a part of the brain linked to memory than those which did not exercise.
The authors believe the new brain cells were behind the improvement in cognitive performance.
The aim of the study, which was carried out by scientists from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge and researchers at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, was to find out why exercise might improve brain function.
Previous research had suggested that exercise helps mental performance in both people and animals. Studies had also shown that exercise increases the number of new brain cells in rodents.