Research from UNSW provides the most convincing evidence to date that complex mental activity across peoples 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 Alzheimers and other neurodegenerative diseases."
Susi Hamilton | EurekAlert!
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