The Power of Physical Activity: Simple Detail Offers 50% Less Bleeding in the Brain

Simple detail

Swedish researchers at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg have shown for the first time that a simple detail offers very effective protection against an intracerebral hemorrhage.

It’s all about physical activity. By analyzing data from 686 people treated for an intracerebral hemorrhage between 2014 and 2019, the Swedish researchers found that those who were physically active and exercised had significantly less bleeding.

50 percent less bleeding

The research was led by Adam Viktorisson, a PhD student in clinical neuroscience at Gothenburg University’s Sahlgrenska Academy, and a general practitioner.

‘We found that people who were regularly physically active had an average of 50 percent less bleeding volume upon arrival at the hospital.’ Similar observations have been made in animals before, but until now there have been no studies showing this connection in humans,’ says Viktorisson.

Very clear difference

The research team can’t say exactly why physical activity has this protective effect, but the results speak for themselves. It’s very simple: physically active people have significantly less bleeding in the brain tissue than people who are inactive.

Physical activity is defined in this context as walking, cycling, swimming, gardening or dancing at least four hours a week.

Surgery in severe cases

If an intracerebral hemorrhage is suspected and a patient is referred to the hospital, doctors will always do a CT scan of the brain. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, neurosurgical intervention may be required.

However, often non-surgical treatments and medication are enough to manage the symptoms.

The results of the Swedish study were significant regardless of where in the brain the bleeding occurred. Physically active individuals had less bleeding in the deep brain regions, which are often associated with high blood pressure, and also in the superficial regions, which are associated with age-related conditions such as dementia.

Better prevention lies ahead

The research paves the way for more studies on how physical activity may protect against intracerebral hemorrhage.

“We hope that our observations can contribute to a better understanding of intracerebral bleeding and perhaps lead to the development of more effective preventive measures,” says Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen, professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Gothenburg and one of the researchers.

2023-06-01 11:09:09
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