Playing sports is good for the brain. The connection key appears to be a protein identified by US researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, and described in the study published in Cell metabolism.
The protein associated with a beneficial effect, called FNDC5, is naturally produced by the body thanks to muscular effort in endurance sports. When the protein reaches the hippocampus, a reaction is triggered that induces an improvement in learning, memory and more generally in cognitive functions.
Harvard scientists have experimented with the possibility of achieving a similar outcome by administering the same protein to non-exercising guinea pigs. The result rewarded intuition, confirming the relationship between protein intake and cognitive well-being. The experiment therefore confirms the benefits associated with endurance sports and promises the possibility of developing "functional foods" that stimulate its production. One more tool in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.