Brain Exercises May Delay Memory Decline in Dementia

by michellerogers on September 9, 2009

I thought this would be worthy of a read and the article relates to a recent posting about seniors engaging in other activities.

Activities that exercise the brain, like reading, writing and playing cards, may help delay the rapid mental decline that occurs if a person later develops dementia, according to a new study.

The study included 488 people ages 75 to 85 who did not have dementia at the start of the study. They were followed for an average of five years, during which time 101 developed dementia.

At the beginning of the study, participants reported how often they participated in six leisure activities that engage the brain: reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, playing board or card games, having group discussions and playing music. For each activity, daily participation was rated at seven points, several days a week was rated at four points and weekly participation was rated at one point.

According to a report in Science Daily, the average was seven points total – or taking part in one of the six activities each day on average, for those who later developed dementia. Researchers looked at the point when memory loss started accelerating rapidly; they found that for every additional activity a person participated in, the onset of rapid memory loss was delayed by 0.18 years. The point of accelerated decline was delayed by 1.29 years for the person who participated in 11 activities per week, compared to the person who participated in four.

Researchers also found that the effect of these activities later in life appears to be independent of education level.

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