July 13, 2007

Exercise Stimulates The Formation Of New Brain Cells

Exercise has often been a recommendation of psychotherapists as part of the treatment for depression and other mental illnesses. Exercise has been shown to be as effective as many drug treatments for depression. With exercise, not only is the person becoming active and engaged in something, but a new study explains they are also stimulating new brain cell growth. This new brain cell growth may be where the benefits are coming from.

This is highly beneficial information since schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders often have deficits in cognitive function that some research attributes to brain cell depletion. If increasing exercise can increase brain cell growth, and also increase motivation (which it has been shown to do with many depressed patients), it may be a great complimentary treatment for those with schizophrenia. Not only may exercise increase brain cell growth, it can also help decrease the sometimes dangerous side effects of antipsychotic medications. Those medications have a higher rate of weight gain, diabetes and cholesterol issues.

This new study by Astrid Bjornebekk at Karolinska Institutet found that brain cell growth caused by exercise might be why exercise has a similar effect to antidepressants on depression.

The experiment studies were conducted on rats. The results show that both exercise and antidepressants increase the formation of new cells in an area of the brain that is important to memory and learning. Astrid Bjornebekk's studies confirm previous research results, and she proposes a model to explain how exercise can have an antidepressant effect in mild to moderately severe depression. Her study also shows that exercise is a very good complement to medicines.

"What is interesting is that the effect of antidepressant therapy can be greatly strengthened by external environmental factors," she says.

Previous studies have shown that drug abusers have lowered levels of the dopamine D2 receptor in the brain's reward system. It has been speculated that this may be of significance to the depressive symptoms drug abusers often suffer from. These rat studies show that genetic factors may influence how external environmental factors can regulate levels of the dopamine D2 receptor in the brain.

"Different individuals may have differing sensitivity to how stress lowers dopamine D2 receptor levels, for example. This might be significant in explaining why certain individuals develop depression more readily than others," she says.

Exercise Stimulates The Formation Of New Brain Cells

Study Says 3 Hours of Exercise a Week Can Bolster Memory, Intellect

Exercise Boosts Brain Function


I am an ex federal officer, and I know that exercise was a great compliment to the Zyprexa that I took because of a schizophrenia diagnosis. I was doing so well on Zyprexa and also exercising a ton, that my doctor forgot that there is no cure for sz. I went off my drugs with his permission and was an armed federal officer on the Mexican border for a few weeks before being transferred to a plainclothes, unarmed slot in Virginia in July of '06. It's great obviously that I didn't have a relapse until I was working at HQ without a weapon. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age 19; that is the same diagnosis I have been given since having my first relapse in twelve years last year. My old doctor always said that exercise 'is the best medicine,' and I think I agree. I know I might feel suicidal if I feel like crap because I have ED, I'm constipated every day, I wake up at 1400 hrs on a regular basis and I have that dry mouth that Zyprexa gives one upon waking up in the morning. With exercise, the worst of the side effects (especially the weight gain) can be addressed. Mental hospitals should exercise their patients as much as possible (as should the police).

Posted by: hmmned at July 16, 2007 09:23 AM

Hello hmmned, I was wondering if you starting drinking after you came off your olanzapine?

Posted by: Max at July 25, 2007 03:00 PM

As a matter of fact I didn't. I had a thousand stressful things happen to me all at once. I am embarassed about what happened, but in the legal sense it wasn't my fault.

I got engaged within a few weeks of coming off my olanzapine to a heavy drinker. Not the smartest move, I suppose, but kind and charismatic, you might say.

Do you take Zyprexa Max?

Posted by: hmmned at August 10, 2007 11:12 AM

I have been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia since 1981.Inspite of the disease,I completed M.Sc,B.Ed and worked 13years as Biology Teacher and 4 years as Principal in an english medium school.At present also I am working as Principal in an english medium school.I am taking olanzapine 5mg and sometime 10mg if more stress at work.I would like to give encouragement to all those suffering from the same disease .Be busy,take medicine regularly and fight with the disease.

Posted by: K.S.Heran at August 12, 2007 06:03 AM

My name is david and I have been diagnosed with schizoeffective dissorder. I take a large dose of Seroqel in addition to Lamictal. I have just finished two years as a music major and decided to change my major to Special Ed. Am I going to have problems getting gainful employment as a special ed. teacher? I have never been violent and have no criminal record whatsoever. I would greatly appreciate your response. Thanks.

Posted by: David Greenfield at August 30, 2007 10:44 AM

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