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Mouse Study: Fit and Dim?

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PORTLAND, Ore., Oct 09, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new study indicates exercise may improve our brains as well as our bodies, but it's also possible to get too much of a good thing.

ABC news said people who become so addicted to exercise they don't seem to know how to stop may actually be impairing their brain's ability to learn new tasks.

Researchers said new studies indicate exercise increases the chemicals in the brain that help brain cells communicate with each other. It also helps the brain grow new neurons in the region known as the hippocampus, which controls learning and memory.

So Justin Rhodes, a neuroscientist at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, told ABC he was a bit surprised when his data showed mice that had become addicted to exercise had a terrible time finding their way through a maze.

But other mice that exercised at a "normal" level breezed through the test with no problems.

The research results appear in two current professional journals, Neuroscience and Behavioral Neuroscience.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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