. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):3017-22. PubMed.

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  1. This work very much concords with our PNAS paper, which found that exercise causes a selective increase in dentate gyrus CBV (Pereira et al., 2007).

    One thing to note is that they find that the increase in hippocampal volume correlates with exercise-induced increases in serological BDNF. Interestingly, previous studies have documented that within the hippocampus, exercise causes a selective upregulation of BDNF expression in the dentate gyrus and CA3. Thus, although Erickson et al. did not assess individual hippocampal subregions, it is plausible to assume that the effect they are seeing is really driven by exercise-induced changes in the dentate gyrus. Indeed, in the discussion section, the authors suggest this as the driving mechanism.

    We and others have found that the dentate gyrus is differentially affected by "normal aging" and relatively preserved in AD. This is one reason I think that exercise will be most beneficial for cognitive aging and less so for AD (which more prominently targets other hippocampal subregions).

    References:

    . An in vivo correlate of exercise-induced neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 27;104(13):5638-43. PubMed.