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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Exercise Your Brain To Prevent Memory Loss


I write often about how to keep Alzheimer's away and about mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.

A new study from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging indicates that participating in mental activities like reading books, playing games, participating in computer activities and crafting may delay or prevent memory loss. The study reported that these kinds of activities lead to a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Neuropsychiatrist Yonas Geda led this study on exercise and mild cognitive impairment.
"Exercise conducted between ages 50 and 65 at a frequency of about two to five times a week in moderate intensity seems to be protective against mild cognitive impairment," he says.
A new Mayo Clinic study found that engaging in cognitive activities like reading books, playing games or crafting in middle age or later life are associated with a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional state between normal aging and the earliest features of Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study is exciting because it demonstrates that aging does not need to be a passive process,” says Yonas Geda, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neuropsychiatrist and author of this study. “By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss.”

As part of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, Dr. Geda and his colleagues identified more than 1,300 people between the ages of 70 and 89. Of those, 197 individuals had mild cognitive impairment and 1,124 were cognitively normal. Both groups answered questions about their activities within the past year and when they were between 50 and 65 years old.

The study found that reading books, playing games, participating in computer activities and crafting led to a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. People who watched television for less than seven hours a day in later years were 50 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who watched more than seven hours of television per day. Additionally, individuals who participated in social activities and read magazines during middle age were about 40 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not participate in those activities.

This study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25-May 2, 2009.

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+Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

To learn more about Alzheimer's and dementia visit the Alzheimer's Reading Room