The National Institutes of Health has awarded Frank Booth, PhD, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Biomedical Sciences, and R. Scott Rector, PhD, associate professor in the MU School of Medicine Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology a grant for their research focusing on the effects of the liver on brain function. The title of the study is “Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity: Liver Adaptations Drive Brain Benefits.” The NIH award is more than $1.5 million and will fund the research for three years.
The goal of this study is to see how exercise affects the liver, and therefore affects brain function of rats. The study involves having the animals run on treadmills and then conducting a series of harmless behavioral tests to determine the extent that liver health is improving the brain function. Booth says the research is important for understanding how we may be able to combat and prevent neurodegenerative diseases in humans through exercise. “If there are no therapies to cure these neurodegenerative diseases, then the alternative is to keep people from getting them,” Booth says. “We’re going to try to figure out which genes are affected and then either people will be encouraged to exercise, or people can then develop therapies to prevent neurodegenerative diseases.”