Study: Lifetime of Learning Might Thwart Dementia

The dementia protection afforded by routine intellectual activity alone was weaker than when intellectual activity was also paired up with stimulating jobs and education.

But in a twist, the authors found that those with the lowest educational and occupational scores actually gained the most protection against dementia by embarking on intellectual activities from middle-age onward.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Even taking up intellectual pursuits in mid-life appears to aid the brain.

A lifetime engaging in intellectually stimulating pursuits may significantly lower your risk for dementia in your golden years, new research suggests.

Even people with relatively low educational and professional achievements can gain protection against late-life dementia if they adopt a mentally stimulating lifestyle — reading and playing music and games, for example — by the time they enter middle-age, the new study contended.

“In terms of preventing cognitive [mental] impairment, education and occupation are important,” said study lead author Prashanthi Vemuri, an assistant professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic and Foundation in Rochester, Minn. “But so is intellectually stimulating activity during mid- to late life,” she added.

“This is very encouraging news, because even if you don’t have a lot of education, or get exposure to a lot of intellectual stimulation during non-leisure activity, intellectual leisure activity…

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Filed under aging, dementia, mental health

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