Do THIS. You May Never Get DementiaDementia is, perhaps, the greatest fear we have of old age. It not only causes memory disorders and impairment of reasoning, but also personality changes. The good news is that there are steps you can take to curb your risk of age-related mental decline--even if you are genetically predisposed to dementia or Alzheimer's disease--HealthDay News reports of a study from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
How? Keep your brain busy. Four activities in particular were found to be especially useful:
The study: Led by Dr. Ronald Peterson, the team followed more than 1,000 mentally healthy men and women with an average age of 77 who were already participating in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Over a four-year period, more than 450 of these participants developed mild cognitive impairment, which is a slight but noticeable decline in memory and thinking skills. It may be the first step in developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Specifically, they found the risk of dementia decrease for each of the four activities when performed at least once or twice a week, compared with those who did these activities only two or three times a month or less:
The researchers also found the benefits of mental stimulation helped people who have apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4, a genetic risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's.
Interestingly, reading books and newspapers regularly didn't seem to confer the same benefits for thinking and memory.
The study findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.