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Read this: Books can beat dementia

July 9, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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People who enjoy reading, writing and other brain-stimulating activities throughout their lives are in a better position to avoid cognitive decline as they grow old barring neuropathologic disorders, according to a new study released last week in the journal Neurology.

Researchers gave nearly 300 older adults tests designed to measure their memories and thinking skills annually for about six years, or until their deaths. Questionnaires that asked about their participation in reading, writing and brain-stimulating activities throughout their lives—from childhood to their current age—were also completed.

Results showed that those who enjoyed mental activities early and continuing until late in life had a slower rate of cognitive decline than those who did not follow those pursuits, after adjusting the study group data for certain levels of plaques and tangles in the brain.

In an article in Science Daily, lead author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, noted: “Based on this, we shouldn’t underestimate the effects of everyday activities such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves, and our parents or grandparents.”