Protecting the Brain

Friday, November 06, 2009

If you are gift buying for an older relative, consider a board game or good book. A study shows that increased participation in activities that stimulate the brain may delay onset of dementia-related memory decline in older seniors. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the study in todays 60 Second Housecall.

The best way to protect your brain is to start using it. Researchers have found that mental stimulation can delay the start of memory decline.

At the start of the study, the 480 participants between the ages of 75 and 85 did not have dementia. They reported how often they participated in six mentally stimulating activities: reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, playing a board or card game, participating in a group discussion or playing music.

Researchers analyzed data on the 101 participants in the study who developed dementia over an average follow-up time of five years.

The more mentally active the person was, the longer it took for accelerated memory decline to show up.

For each activity, such as reading or playing games, the participant ranked his or her level of participation as daily, several days a week or weekly.

When researchers looked at the time that memory decline started accelerating rapidly for each participant, they found that each additional activity day was linked to a delay in the onset of memory decline.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.