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Exercise-induced noradrenergic activation enhances memory consolidation in both normal aging and patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment


Segal, Sabrina K., Cotman, Carl W., Cahill, Lawrence F.


Journal Of Alzheimer's Disease: JAD, Volume: 32, No.: 4, Pages.: 1011-1018

Year of Publication



Post-trial pharmacological activation of the noradrenergic system can facilitate memory consolidation. Because exercise activates the locus coeruleus and increases brain norepinephrine release, we hypothesized that post-trial exercise could function as a natural stimulus to enhance memory consolidation. We investigated this in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and cognitively normal elderly individuals by examining the effects of an acute bout of post-learning, aerobic exercise (6 minutes at 70% VO2 max on a stationary bicycle) on memory for some emotional images. Exercise significantly elevated endogenous norepinephrine (measured via the biomarker, salivary alpha-amylase) in both aMCI patients and controls. Additionally, exercise retrogradely enhanced memory in both aMCI patients and controls. Acute exercise that activates the noradrenergic system may serve as a beneficial, natural, and practical therapeutic intervention for cognitive decline in the aging population.;


adrenergic neurons, aged, aging, amnesia, analysis, exercise, female, humans, male, metabolism, mild cognitive impairment, norepinephrine, physiology, psychology, salivary alphaamylases, therapy

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Types of Study

Cohort Study

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Exercise (inc. dancing)