A recent study conducted by the University of Gothenburg has found that regular physical activity and exercise can potentially reduce bleeding in individuals with intracerebral hemorrhage. This type of brain bleeding can have severe consequences, and the researchers highlight the significance of physical activity in safeguarding the brain. Engaging in regular physical activity is believed to have a protective effect, and it is an important factor in maintaining brain health and preventing complications associated with intracerebral hemorrhage. The study highlights the potential benefits of incorporating physical activity into the management and prevention strategies for this condition.

The study, published in the journal Stroke and Vascular Neurology, analyzed data on 686 people treated for intracerebral hemorrhage at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg during the years 2014 to 2019.

The results of the study, which was conducted retrospectively, indicate a clear association between regular physical activity and smaller hemorrhages in individuals with intracerebral hemorrhage. However, it is important to note that the study design does not allow for the establishment of causal connections. While the findings demonstrate that those who reported engaging in regular physical activity had smaller hemorrhages compared to inactive individuals, further research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Nonetheless, the study provides valuable insights into the potential benefits of regular physical activity in reducing the severity of hemorrhages in individuals with intracerebral hemorrhage.

Physically active was defined as engaging in at least light physical activity, such as walking, cycling, swimming, gardening, or dancing, for at least four hours weekly.

50% Less Bleeding Volume

The main author of the study is Adam Viktorisson, who is a PhD student in clinical neuroscience at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. He is also a doctor in general practice at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Adam Viktorisson’s expertise in both clinical neuroscience and general practice likely provided valuable insights for the study, contributing to its design, analysis, and interpretation of results. His dual role as a researcher and a practicing physician allows for a comprehensive understanding of the clinical implications of the study’s findings.

Further Reading: Exercise Releases Chemical Signals That Boost Brain Health

According to the findings of the study led by Viktorisson, individuals who participate in regular exercise exhibited, on average, hemorrhage volumes that were 50% smaller upon their arrival at the hospital. This discovery is particularly noteworthy because although similar associations have been observed in animal studies, this is the first study to demonstrate this relationship in humans. The results suggest that engaging in regular exercise may have a positive impact on reducing the size of hemorrhages in individuals with intracerebral hemorrhage.

When individuals arrive at the hospital with suspected intracerebral hemorrhage, they typically undergo a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the brain to confirm the diagnosis. The severity of the hemorrhage determines the course of treatment, and in some cases, neurosurgery may be necessary. However, for the majority of patients, non-surgical approaches and medications are employed to manage symptoms and support the recovery process. These non-surgical methods can include closely monitoring the patient, administering medications to control blood pressure and prevent further bleeding, and providing supportive care to address any associated symptoms or complications. The treatment approach is tailored to each individual’s specific condition and needs.

Intracerebral hemorrhage is the most dangerous type of stroke and can lead to life-threatening conditions. The risk of severe consequences from the hemorrhage increases with the extent of the bleeding.

According to Thomas Skoglund, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Gothenburg and a neurosurgeon at the University Hospital, major intracerebral hemorrhages can pose a risk of increased intracranial pressure. This elevated pressure within the skull can potentially have severe consequences and even lead to fatal outcomes. Managing and reducing the increased intracranial pressure is crucial in the treatment of such cases. It highlights the critical importance of prompt medical intervention and appropriate neurosurgical interventions to mitigate the risks associated with major intracerebral hemorrhages. Thomas Skoglund’s expertise in neurosurgery brings valuable insights to the study and underscores the significance of effective management strategies for these critical situations.

Better Understanding of Intracerebral Hemorrhage

The study’s findings showed that the beneficial effects of regular physical activity on reducing bleeding were observed regardless of the location within the cerebrum (the main part of the brain). This means that physically active individuals had smaller hemorrhages not only in the deep regions of the brain, which are commonly associated with high blood pressure, but also in the surface regions that are linked to age-related conditions like dementia. These results suggest that regular physical activity may have a broad protective effect on reducing bleeding throughout different areas of the brain, regardless of the specific underlying mechanisms involved.

The study conducted by Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Gothenburg and senior consultant physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, provides a foundation for further research in the field of intracerebral hemorrhages and physical activity. As the overseer of the study, Professor Sunnerhagen’s expertise in rehabilitation medicine brings valuable insights into understanding the potential benefits of exercise in managing and preventing intracerebral hemorrhages. The findings of this study open up avenues for future investigations to delve deeper into the relationship between physical activity and brain health, ultimately contributing to the development of effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of intracerebral hemorrhages.

“We hope that our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of intracerebral hemorrhages and aid in the development of more effective preventive measures,” she concludes.