Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mental activity keeps Alzheimer's at bay - but only temporarily

Keeping mentally active in old age can delay the onset of dementia. Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York studied people taking part in the Bronx Aging Study which has been monitoring 488 people since the early 1980s. At the start of the study the participants (none of whom had dementia at the time) were asked about their education and how often they read, wrote, did crossword puzzles, played card or board games, took part in group discussions or played music. The more mentally-active people were the later the onset of their mental decline. People who were in the most-mentally-active quarter of the sample started their mental decline an average of 1.29 years later than people in the least-active quarter. However, mental activity did not prevent people from developing Alzheimer's and the more mentally-active people went downhill quicker once they started showing symptoms of the disease.

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