Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., have shown that running can boost brain-cell survival in mice with the neurodegenerative disorder Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).1 Surprisingly, during the course of the study, they also discovered that the Atm gene--which is absent in those with the disease--appears to play a critical role in neural stem cell development.

A-T is a rare disease characterized by the death of brain cells, which results in a progressive loss of motor control that typically, by adolescence, confines patients to wheelchairs. While the cell death appears first in the cerebellum, the brain region that directs movement, it eventually occurs throughout the brain.

Courtesy of JThe Salk Institute

Carrolee Barlow

By monitoring the number of revolutions each mouse lapped on a running wheel that was placed in its cage, the researchers actually discovered that the miles logged by these mice appeared to correlate...

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