Brain Exercises Can Delay Dementia
There's new evidence that exercising one's brain with mental activities can help keep dementia at bay.
Charles Hall of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and colleagues studied 488 people ages 75 to 85 who did not have dementia when the study began. The subjects reported how commonly they took part in six activities that kept their brains active: reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards or board games, participating in group discussions and playing a musical instrument. Over the next five years, 101 of the subjects developed dementia.
For every additional activity a person reported participating in, the onset of memory loss among those who developed dementia was delayed by 0.18 years, the researchers reported this week in the journal Neurology. That may not sound like much, but it translated into more than a year of keeping the rapid decline in memory from occurring for the person who participated in 11 activities per week compared to the person who participated in only four each week, the researchers reported.
The findings held up even after the researchers took into consideration the participants' levels of education.
Although more research is needed, the researchers say the findings add to a growing body of evidence that indicates that keeping your mind active throughout life could help stave off the effects of aging.
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