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Do THIS. You May Never Get Dementia
Dementia 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.

Is it forgetfulness or Alzheimer's disease? Find out seven early signs of dementia. If you spot several of these in a loved one, it's time to call a doctor.

How? Keep your brain busy. Four activities in particular were found to be especially useful:

  • Using a computer
  • Doing crafts
  • Playing games
  • Participating in social activities

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.

The results:
Those who regularly participated in activities that stimulated their minds had a significantly lower risk of memory and thinking issues. Even though the study was not designed to show a cause-and-effect relationship that is exactly what happened.

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:

  • Computer use: 30 percent decline of dementia risk
  • Crafting activities: 28 percent
  • Social activities: 23 percent
  • Playing games: 22 percent

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.

Follow the MIND diet and you can cut your risk for Alzheimer's by 53 percent!

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