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Keeping your brain active stalls Alzheimer's

People genetically prone to Alzheimer’s who went to college, worked in complex fields and stayed engaged intellectually, held off the disease almost a decade longer than others, a study found.

Researchers in the study published on Monday have also found intellectually enriching activities such as playing music or reading help to increase the fitness of one's mind and stalls Alzheimer's by years.

Alzheimer's in the most common form of dementia.

In America, more than 5 million people are affected by it, and the numbers are expected to triple by 2050. 

“Keeping your brain mentally stimulated is a lifelong enterprise,” David Knopman, a study author and a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “If one can remain intellectually active and stimulated throughout one’s lifespan, that’s protective against late-life dementia. Staying mentally active is definitely good for your brain.”

Although there are no effective treatments for the disease, the Alzheimer’s Association stated that methods that can delay the Alzheimer’s by five years can reduce the expected number with the disease significantly, specifically in the US by about 43 percent by 2050.

Knopman said enriching activities may not be as effective as actual treatment but that any fraction of reduction would be a “great success.”

After studying 1,995 people between the ages 70 to 89 without dementia, it was found that memory power was much greater the more education and brain activity one had.

With an average education and job complexity, brain stimulating pastimes can delay dementia by about 7.3 years compared to people with low levels of mental stimulation in aging.

“The greater the cognitive reserve that people have the more delayed the onset of dementia is,” Knopman said.

 

Source: Washington Post