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OHSU study reveals each persons' activity level appears intrinsic, possibly tied to genetics

WASHINGTON, DC Research conducted by scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University reveals that a person's level of activity is likely an intrinsic property of that individual. This means personal decisions to become more active for the purpose of losing weight may take more of a conscious effort than traditionally thought for certain people. The research is being presented during the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 12-16. It is one of the largest and most respected meetings of neuroscientists in the world.

"Previous research has revealed that increased physical activity can decrease the risk of obesity, coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, metabolic diseases like diabetes, anxiety, depression, breast cancer and colon cancer," said Elinor Sullivan, an OHSU graduate student conducting research at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. "Based on the wealth of benefits provided by regular exercise, doctors have often recommended that patients increase their level of physical activity. However, currently the factors that regulate an individual's average daily activity level, and the brain systems involved in regulating activity are not well understood. It is likely that these factors affect how easy it is for individuals to substantially increase activity through voluntarily exercise, and whether some people can more easily increase their activity than others."

To better understand the factors that can impact activity levels, the ONPRC scientists studied 17 female rhesus macaque monkeys housed in single cages compared to 12 female monkeys group housed in large pens (12 ft x 12 ft x 14 ft). The monkeys housed in large pens had more opportunities to forage for food and move around, as well as more chances to interact socially. To accurately measure activity levels, both groups of monkeys wore activity monitors attached to loose-fitting collars.

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Contact: Jim Newman
newmanj@ohsu.edu
503 494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
14-Nov-2005


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