Home / News / World /  Exercise may be crucial to treat rare movement disorders: What new study says

As it turns out exercise may be even more medically beneficial than we give it credit, with its impacts showing implications even in cases of neurological diseases. A team of McGill University researchers have come out with a new study which shows that exercise restored the health of cells in human brain and had implications on Spinal cerebellar ataxia 6 (SCA6). The McGill University researchers specializing in SCA6 and other forms of ataxia, have published findings that not only offer hope for SCA6 sufferers but may also open the way to developing treatments for other movement disorders.

Notably, spinal cerebellar ataxia 6 (SCA6), a hereditary neurological disease that impairs motor coordination, which reportedly affects only about one in 100,000 people, medical researchers have so far paid rather little attention to the condition. It is important to note that there is currently no known cure and just a few therapeutic alternatives. The findings of the study "Activation of TrkB - Akt signaling rescues deficits in a mouse model of SCA6" by Anna Cook was published in Science Advances.

Exercise in a pill

According to the McGill team led by biology professor Alanna Watt, found that in mice affected by SCA6, exercise restored the health of cells in the cerebellum, the part of the brain implicated in SCA6 and other ataxias. The researchers found that the reason for the improvement was that exercise increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a naturally occurring substance in the brain which supports the growth and development of nerve cells. Importantly for patients with a movement disorder, for whom exercise may not always be feasible, the team demonstrated that a drug that mimicked the action of BDNF could work just as well as exercise, if not better, according to news agency ANI report.

Why early intervention may be crucial

Additionally, the researchers discovered that BDNF levels in SCA6 mice declined well before movement difficulties began to appear. Interestingly, the drug, they found, worked to arrest the decline only if it was given before the onset of outwardly visible symptoms.

Anna Cook, a Ph.D. candidate in Professor Watt's lab noted, “that's not something we really knew about SCA6. If there are these early changes in the brain that people don't even know about, it tends to advocate for more genetic screening and early intervention for these rare diseases."

(With inputs from ANI)

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less

Recommended For You

Trending Stocks

Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout