Why the Brain Needs the Heart to Exercise
About 80 per cent of all deaths in Canada are associated with heart or brain dysfunctions. While such dysfunctions frequently overlap, surprisingly little is known about the linkages between changes in heart and brain function, especially during aging and related diseases such as strokes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Enter Dr. Phil Ainslie, Canada Research Chair in Cerebrovascular Physiology in Health and Disease, who is using sophisticated imaging techniques and other approaches to provide insight into brain function during aging and in selected diseases.
Ainslie is also assessing how exercise programs can offset declines in brain function. Regular aerobic exercise is already associated with a reduced future risk of heart disease and there is an urgent need for cost-effective interventions that can slow down or prevent normal brain aging and cognitive decline such as dementia.
He believes that by promoting healthy heart function, exercise can diminish disease burden in the brain.
Ainslie’s work will go a long way toward answering why the brain needs the heart to exercise.