Research Reports - Influence of physical exercise on traumatic brain injury deficits: scaffolding effect

Neurotox Res. 2012 May;21(4):418-34. Epub 2011 Dec 20

Archer T.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be due to a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a
penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function; it presents an
ever-growing, serious public health problem that causes a considerable number of
fatalities and cases of permanent disability annually. Physical exercise restores
the healthy homeostatic regulation of stress, affect and the regulation of
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Physical activity attenuates or reverses the
performance deficits observed in neurocognitive tasks. It induces anti-apoptotic
effects and buttresses blood-brain barrier intactness. Exercise offers a unique
non-pharmacologic, non-invasive intervention that incorporates different regimes,
whether dynamic or static, endurance, or resistance. Exercise intervention
protects against vascular risk factors that include hypertension, diabetes,
cellular inflammation, and aortic rigidity. It induces direct changes in
cerebrovasculature that produce beneficial changes in cerebral blood flow,
angiogenesis and vascular disease improvement. The improvements induced by
physical exercise regimes in brain plasticity and neurocognitive performance are
evident both in healthy individuals and in those afflicted by TBI. The overlap
and inter-relations between TBI effects on brain and cognition as related to
physical exercise and cognition may provide lasting therapeutic benefits for
recovery from TBI. It seems likely that some modification of the notion of
scaffolding would postulate that physical exercise reinforces the adaptive
processes of the brain that has undergone TBI thereby facilitating the
development of existing networks, albeit possibly less efficient, that compensate
for those lost through damage.

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