Skip Navigation
NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health


More Reasons to Exercise

Research is showing that exercise can improve your mood and maybe even your memory.

How can this be?

Researchers supported by NIH are discovering more about how exercising our bodies can help our brain.

They have found that exercise releases a brain-healthy protein called cathepsin B.

Working in the lab, Hyo Youl Moon and Henriette van Praag of NIH's National Institute on Aging identified cathepsin B as a factor released from muscle cells. The cells were grown in a tissue-culture dish after applying a compound that activates energy metabolism.

They measured cathepsin B in mice and in monkeys after exercise training and found elevated blood levels of cathepsin B.

In addition, the researchers collaborated with researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. The German researchers compared cathepsin B levels in people after four months of regular exercise to people who didn't exercise.

The study showed a significant increase in blood cathepsin B levels with regular fitness training. They also found a relationship between increases in cathepsin B and the ability of participants to recall and draw a complex picture of lines and shapes, which is often used to test visual memory.

Researchers will continue studying cathepsin B and its role in the brain and the rest of the body. And we can continue exercising!

Find Out More

Pregnant and Sick in the Morning?

This might be a good sign!

During the first few months of pregnancy, many women have "morning sickness." This nausea and vomiting may be positive news. A recent NIH study links morning sickness to a lower risk of pregnancy loss among women with a prior pregnancy loss.

How might morning sickness actually lower the risk of miscarriage? We don't know and future research is needed to understand this more.

Although morning sickness might be a good sign, it doesn't promise a healthy pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different, and not feeling nauseous or vomiting shouldn't be taken as cause for concern.

If you are pregnant and have questions, it's always best to talk with your health care provider.

NIH Support: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Opens new window

Winter 2017 Issue: Volume 11 Number 4 Page 28