Mental Work Protects Most Against Dementia

Despite the fact that doctors are often propounding the positive effects of physical activity, new research has shown that only a high level of mental activity protects against dementia and Alzheimer”s disease.

Published in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Journal, the research found that high levels of social or physical activity will not stave off dementia on their own.

Studying Alzheimer’s mice that had been reared in four different environments, researchers at the Byrd Institute found that only mice raised with a background involving high levels of cognitive work over their lives did not suffer memory loss in old age.

While mice in environments with high social activity, high physical activity or in the control group did not perform well at memory tests, the mice given a lifelong high level of cognitive activity performed as well as normal mice that do not develop Alzheimer”s disease.

Dr Gary Arendash, who led the research, said: “Our results call into question the earlier human studies suggesting social or physical activity provides protection against Alzheimer”s.

“Alzheimer”s begins in the brain several decades before any symptoms´ show up. That means adults in their forties and fifties need to make lifestyle choices now to decrease their risk of getting Alzheimer”s disease later.”