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Exercise and Brain Health

May 22, 2012

Exercise and Brain Health: A Different Approach to Managing Mental Illness and Medication Effects in Schizophrenia.


New! CME Accreditation for 1 MOC Study point

On Thursday, June 14, 2012, Dr. Donna Lang will speak to the potential benefits of exercise on the hippocampus and thus learning and memory. Dr. Donna Lang is a neuroimaging researcher studying physiological, biochemical, and physical markers in the brain to understand the neurocircuitry underlying psychotic disorders. Diffusion tensor imaging and spectroscopy studies inform her work. Dr. Lang will talk on potential benefits of exercise on psychosis.

The objectives of the talk are as follows:

1. Review the underlying structural deficits in schizophrenia that have been identified by
2. Review the physiological and morphological effects of antipsychotic treatment on the
brain, particularly, the hippocampus.
3. Discuss the potential ameliorating effects of regular exercise on structural and
functional deficits in psychosis.

Dr. Donna Lang began her academic endeavors as an undergraduate student in botany and biopsychology at the University of Victoria.  At that time she began her first forays into brain research in animal models of hippocampal injuries in rats. After to moving to Vancouver, Donna met Dr. Bill Honer while working as a research assistant in the Division of Immunology at the Jack Bell Research Pavilion in 1994. By 1995 Bill had convinced her that she would be happier pursuing graduate studies and that neuroimaging in schizophrenia was an area that needed focussed attention.  Donna continued focusing her attention on the neuroimaging of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders through her post-doctoral training as a Michael Smith Fellow with Dr. Alex Mackay in the Department of Radioogy, where she has remained ensconced as an Assistant Professor. After 17 years, she is still focused on the neuroimaging of schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders.

Prior to Dr. Lang’s talk, there will be a ten minute talk by neuroscience graduate Cassie McRae. She will speak about emerging research in the hippocampus. Cassie McRae has a degree in molecular biology and genetics and was recently awarded a MITACS grant for her research on the hippocampus.  Parsing apart structural differences in the brains of those suffering with psychosis and drug addictions, using magneitc-resonance imaging, is her current area of focus.


Relevant articles from popular press:

How Exercise Fuels the Brain – Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times

Aerobic exercise bulks up on hippocampus, improving memory in older adults – Katherine Harmon, Scientific American

How exercise could lead to a better brain – Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times


RSVP by clicking on the link at the top of the page below the photo.

More information on the main talks page.

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