What we do today affects how we will live in the future. Another way of saying this is the old adage, “You reap what you sow.” Our primary care physicians tell us all the time what we must do to stay healthy as we get older: Maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, exercise and control stress. Many of these same doctors urge us to read, write and stay active socially.
We know from past studies that there is a connection between keeping the brain active and delaying or preventing dementia. A new study from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago confirms that message. Researchers there found that reading and writing throughout life can slow the progression of dementia. While there is no cure for dementia, this new study showed that people who regularly exercised their brains by reading, writing and working puzzles slowed their rate of cognitive decline 15 percent more than those who did not.
Robert Wilson, the primary author for the report, said the “brain that we have in old age depends in part on what we habitually ask it to do in life.” The Rush Institute for Healthy Aging predicts the number of people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease could triple by 2050.
It’s pretty clear more research and preventive measures are needed to deal with this looming crisis. Researchers are working on a cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s in particular, but in the meantime, making brain exercise a habit can make a real difference in the way your brain ages. The choice is yours!
For more, go to: How reading writing and playing games can thwart dementia.