Faster Treadmill Running Linked to Enhanced Cerebellum Activity

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Researchers reveal that running fast on the treadmill is associated with increased cerebellum activity, according to a new study published on April 22, 2018.

Faster treadmill running speeds is found to enhance associative learning in the cerebellum, according to an experiment conducted on mice.

“The cerebellum is important for learning skilled movements. It calibrates movements in the face of a changing environment to coordinate them in a very precise way. Said Carey, lead author of the study.

The team found that, faster mice ran on a treadmill, the faster and better their cerebellum learned an associative task called delay eyeblink conditioning. “Here we investigated the effects of behavioral state, and specifically locomotor activity, on delay eyeblink conditioning, a cerebellum-dependent form of associative learning. In delay eyeblink conditioning, animals learn to close their eye in response to an initially neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) that is reliably predictive of an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US), such as a puff of air to the eye.” Said the team.

They developed a conditioned learning task to teach mice to blink their eyes in response to a flash of light. They flashed a light and then followed it with a puff of air, while running at various speeds on a treadmill. Eyeblink conditioning is a common way to test the speed and efficacy of associative learning in the cerebellum.

It was found that the mice who were made to run at higher speeds on the treadmills learned to associate the flash of light with a puff of air more quickly. As a result, even in conditions where a puff of air was not accompanied by a flash of light, these mice automatically learned to blink.

Catarina Albergaria, co-author of the study revealed that, “Our main finding was that we could make mice learn better by having them run faster.” This was successfully proved by the experiment, while the team hopes to get the same results, when conducted on human subjects.

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