Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Use your brain, halve your risk of dementia

26.01.2006


Research from UNSW provides the most convincing evidence to date that complex mental activity across people’s lives significantly reduces the risk of dementia. The researchers found that such activity almost halves the incidence of dementia.



The paper, which has just been published in Psychological Medicine, is the first comprehensive review of the research in the field of ’brain reserve’, which looks at the role of education, occupational complexity and mentally stimulating lifestyle pursuits in preventing cognitive decline. The paper integrates data from 29,000 individuals across 22 studies from around the world.

"Until now there have been mixed messages about the role of education, occupation, IQ and mentally stimulating leisure activities, in preventing cognitive decline. Now the results are much clearer," said the lead author, Dr Michael Valenzuela, from the School of Psychiatry at UNSW. "It is a case of ’use it or lose it’. If you increase your brain reserve over your lifetime, you seem to lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases."


The key conclusion is that individuals with high brain reserve have a 46 percent decreased risk of dementia, compared to those with low brain reserve. All the studies assessed agreed that mentally stimulating leisure activities, even in late life, are associated with a protective effect.

"This suggests that brain reserve is not a static property, nor that it is determined by early life experiences such as level of education, socio-economic deprivation or poor nutrition," said Dr Valenzuela. "It is never too late to build brain reserve."

Dr Valenzuela’s previous research showed that after five weeks of memory-based mental exercise, participants increased brain chemistry markers in the opposite direction to that seen in Alzheimer’s disease. "The interesting point here is that this change was concentrated to the hippocampus, a part of the brain first affected in dementia," said Dr Valenzuela.

This is consistent with studies of brain reserve in mice, where some of the animals were ’hothoused’ in stimulating environments. These mice had changes in the microstructure of their brains, compared with the controls.

"We now need a clinical trial to improve our neurobiological understanding of the brain-reserve effect in humans," said Dr Valenzuela. "Perhaps this could be based around mentally stimulating leisure activities that are fun."

The co-author of the paper is Professor Permider Sachdev, also from the School of Psychiatry at UNSW, who is based at The Neuropsychiatric Institute at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Contact details: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media unit, tel. 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024

Susi Hamilton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

nachricht Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>