Mental Exercise May Stave Off Alzheimers Disease
People who exercise their brains in early and mid-life maybe able to stave off Alzheimers disease, new research suggests. According to research recently published in the January 2012 issue of the Archives of Neurology, people with healthier brains produce less amyloid beta, the protein commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists from the University of California and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois wanted to find out whether physical activities and mental exercise would be associated with the brain's deposition of beta -amyloid protein in healthy older adults. To get their answer they recruited 65 healthy people (mean age 76.1 years), 10 Alzheimer's disease patients (mean age and 74.8 years) and 11 healthy young adults (mean age 24.5 years) whom they studied in Berkely, California from late 2005 to early 2011.
The research team looked for plaque buildup in key areas of the brains of the volunteers. The volunteers were also given retrospective self-reporting scales which measured cognitive abilities (reading, writing, playing games) and physical activity. With this information they were able to come to a very interesting conclusion.
Mental and Physical Exercise Improves Cognition and Staves Off Alzheimers Disease
The scientific investigators soon found that volunteers who participated in mentally challenging activities produced less beta-amyloid plaque than subjects who didn't engage in these activities. Although the results were most profound in young and midlife volunteers, subjects across all age groups were able to reap the cognitive benefits of mentally challenging activities.
Physical exercise was associated with enhanced cognitive abilities but had no effect on beta-amyloid build up.
The results showed that people who use their minds throughout life are less likely to develop the harmful plaque buildup which leads to mental decline.
In fact the research authors concluded that "...lifestyle factors found in individuals with high cognitive engagement may prevent or slow deposition of beta-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of AD."
What's the take home message? Start when you're young! Get on top of education and never stop learning, your brain will thank you for it.
For more information on Alzheimers disease visit NIHSenior Health: Alzheimer's Disease
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Landau, S. Marks, S., Mormino E., Rabinovici, G., Oh, H., O'Neil, J., Wilson, R. & Jagust, W. (2012). Association of Lifetime Cognitive Engagement and Low -Amyloid Deposition. Archives of Neurology DOI:10.1001/archneurol.2011.2748
"Train Your Brain To Ward Off Alzheimer's Disease" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.