Can you prevent dementia by keeping your brain active?

  • US researchers have found that keeping your brain active with mental challenges can help slow down cognitive decline by 15%.

    Their study shows that lifestyle factors like a lifetime of mental challenges, reading books and writing letters can delay the onset of dementia.

    Previous research has shown that lifestyle is a contributing factor to your risk of dementia, with an Alzheimer's research work showing the best way to reduce your risk of having dementia is to eat a balanced diet, exercise and stay slim.

    Shiny BrainAmerican researchers have now added to this theory, as they publish a study showing that mental challenges throughout life can reduce the onset of cognitive decline.

    They have shown that keeping mentally active by reading books or writing letters helps protect the brain in old age.

    They gave 294 people over the age of 55 tests that measured memory and thinking, every year for about six years until their deaths, and whether they read books and other activities that would stimulate their mind throughout their lives.

    When examining their brains after they had passed away, they found that those who had a record of keeping the brain busy had a rate of cognitive decline estimated at 15% slower than those who did not.

    Dr Robert Wilson, who led the study, said the research suggested exercising the brain across a lifetime was important for brain health in old age:

    The brain that we have in old age depends in part on what we habitually ask it to do in life.

    What you do during your lifetime has a great impact on the likelihood these age-related diseases are going to be expressed.

     Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1254880


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