As with the body, it is important to keep our brains active. Because he too can keep, and even recover, the agility lost with aging provided he practices a minimum intellectual challenges allowing him to build muscle. Because many studies have shown it: intellectual exercise helps maintain brain health by preventing the loss of its functions and cognitive skills such as memory, reasoning, and judgment. A new study published in the journal Neurology indique as well as even simple activities like reading, writing, playing playing card games or doing puzzles later in life can delay the onset of dementia for up to five years.
“The good news is that it’s never too late to start doing accessible activities and inexpensive examined in our study. », Explains its first author Prof. Robert S. Wilson, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Our results suggest that it may be beneficial to start doing these things, even at age 80, to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s type dementia. The study involved 1,978 people with an average age of 80 without dementia diagnosis at the start of the study, followed for an average of seven years. To assess their risk for dementia over the years, participants underwent annual check-ups that included a number of cognitive tests.
Five additional years for intellectually active seniors
At the start of the study, participants rated their participation in seven different types of activities on a five-point scale. Questions include, for example: “over the past year, how often did you read books ? “Or” in the past year, how often have you played games such as checkers, board games, cards, or puzzles? They were also given a questionnaire on their cognitive activity during childhood, adulthood, and middle age. The researchers then averaged each person’s responses, giving them a score ranging from 1 (once a year or less) to 5 (every day or almost every day).
Concretely, the people of the group having high cognitive activity got an average of 4.0, which means activities several times a week, compared to an average score of 2.1 for those with low cognitive activity, which means activities several times a year. During the study’s follow-up period, 457 people with an average age of 89 were diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. But it turns out that people with the highest activity levels developed dementia at age 94 while those with the lowest cognitive activity developed dementia at age 89: a difference of five years.
The importance of practicing these activities as you age
These results were similar even when the researchers adjusted for other factors that might affect the risk of dementia, such as education level and gender. To test the idea that low cognitive activity may be an early sign of dementia, and not the other way around, the researchers also examined the brains of 695 people who died during the study. Brain tissue was examined for markers Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid and tau protein deposits. But the latter did not find any association between their cognitive activity level and markers for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders in their brains.
“People who engage in cognitively stimulating activities may delay the age at which they develop dementia. », Adds Professor Robert Wilson. “It is important to note that after taking into account the level of cognitive activity at the end of life, neither education nor cognitive activity at the beginning of life was associated with the age at which a person has developed Alzheimer’s dementia. In conclusion, the study suggests that the link between intellectual activity et the age at which a person develops dementia would be determined primarily by activities performed later in life. However, more studies will be needed to determine if the results apply to the general population.