One disability that BIPR’s clinical sector services is ADHD. It has long been understood that exercise affects health and the brain in a positive way, but recent research confirms the positive influence of exercise on treating individuals with ADHD.
David Bucci of Dartmouth College initiated research related to ADHD with the aim of finding approaches to ADHD other than straight medication use (long term medical effects of certain medications are somewhat unknown). Bucci worked with a team of University of Vermont undergraduate and graduate students and mostly performed tests on laboratory rats. The team found that exercise decreased ADHD-related behaviors and that exercise had a more prominent effect on female subjects than male subjects. Another important finding was improved memory in rats that both exercised and had a high brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression. Improved memory continued long into adulthood for adolescent rats that exercised. Bucci then applied these findings to human subjects from Dartmouth and Hanover. The project revealed that the subjects’ response to exercise in treating ADHD depended on their genotype for BDNF. Therefore, children diagnosed with ADHD could be genotyped in order to determine whether exercise would be an effective method of treatment.
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