A new study suggests that leading an “intellectually, socially and physically active lifestyle” may help protect against dementia and other cognitive decline.
This may include continuing education or participating in hobbies.
A new study published in the journal Neurology examined various factors that can contribute to cognitive decline.
It included approximately 1,184 participants, all of whom were born in the UK in 1946.
These findings are exciting because they suggest that cognitive ability is subject to factors throughout our lives, and that participating in an intellectually, socially, and physically active lifestyle may help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.
The researchers assessed each participant’s childhood cognitions when they were eight years old, their “educational attainment” by age 26, their engagement in leisure activities by age 43, and by age 53. Examined their profession.
Participants’ reading ability was also assessed at age 53, as well as their cognitive abilities at age 69.
The maximum score of this test was 100 and the average score of the participants was 92.
The researchers found that people who performed best on a cognitive test for 69-year-olds were more likely to score higher on assessments taken earlier in life — childhood cognitive skills, the “cognitive reserve index.” and reading ability tests.
Degree holders outperformed those with no formal education.
But the team of academics found that continuing to learn throughout life can help protect the brain.
Participants who engaged in six or more leisure activities, such as adult education classes, clubs, volunteer work, social activities and gardening, scored higher than those who engaged in up to four leisure activities.
Study author Dr Dorina Kidder, from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “These findings are exciting because they suggest that cognitive ability is subject to factors throughout our lives, and contributes to an intellectually, socially and physically active lifestyle. Taking it can help prevent cognitive decline and dementia
“It’s exciting to know that building one’s cognitive repertoire can reverse the negative effects of low childhood cognition for those who may not have benefited from an enriched childhood, and have strong mental abilities later in life. Offer flexibility.”
The authors also found that people who had “professional” careers performed better on cognitive tests at age 69 than those with “unskilled” jobs.
From a public health and social perspective, investing in higher education, expanding opportunities for recreational activities, and providing cognitively challenging activities for people, especially those working in low-skilled occupations, can have broad, long-term benefits. can.
Dr. Michael Schneiderberry of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, said: “From a public health and societal perspective, broad, long-term investments in high-quality sectors The benefits can be: education, broadening opportunities for recreational activities, and providing cognitively challenging activities for people, especially those working in low-skilled occupations.”
Commenting on the study, Kathryn Gray, Research Communications Manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This long-term Alzheimer’s Society-funded study adds to a popular theory that the more you regularly challenge your brain , the less likely you are to experience memory and thinking problems in your later years.
“From childhood to adulthood, participants who kept their brains active, whether it was in education, in their careers or by participating in complex hobbies, developed better thinking skills by age 69.
“It is estimated that the number of people with dementia in the UK will rise to 1.6 million by 2040. Although there are many risk factors associated with developing dementia, there is hope in knowing that mental stimulation Engaging in stimulating activities and regularly finding ways to challenge your brain can help reduce memory and thinking problems in the future.
It comes as a new study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego concluded that high blood pressure during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of dementia.
Women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to be diagnosed with vascular dementia later in life, the researchers said.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “High blood pressure is a risk factor for poor heart health, which has a knock-on effect on our brain health. New research sheds light on the impact that high blood pressure and related disorders during pregnancy can have on women’s risk of dementia later in life.