Liver protein could be the driving force behind exercise and brain health

By: Benjamin Bian

The brain's ability to help people keep their minds sharp may be assisted through the liver.

Researchers found that a liver protein by the name of GLPD-1 helps memory and cognitive functions.Numerous studies in mice show that exercise triggered this chemical to release through the liver.

It is no unknown fact that exercise helps people's brains when they get older, but can we liquidate this effect into a pill for frail people that can't exercise? Scientists are trying to do just that.A study in the July 10 edition of Science claims that the chemicals released by the liver helped elderly mice with cognitive ability.Researchers injected elderly mice with plasma from elderly mice that exercised over a course of six weeks.The result was that the mice with the injected plasma had better memories than the non-injected, more sedentary mice, and consequently performed better on memory-related tasks.

Furthermore, scientists observed that liver protein GLPD-1 was produced during exercise. GLPD-1 is an enzyme, a chemical catalyst that speeds up a reaction without costing more energy. Researchers also compared normal, elderly mice to mice genetically modified to produce more GLPD-1.The genetically modified mice performed better than the ordinary mice, and about as well as mice that exercised.

Elderly humans who had more exercise(defined as more than 7100 steps per day) had more GLPD-1 in their blood than more sedentary people.Unfortunately, the importance of GLPD-1 overall is still yet unknown. GLPD-1 is high in people who have diabetes, which suggests the protein might have negative effects.

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