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Increased Mental Activity Assures Sharp Brain in Old Age

by Anne Trueman on  January 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Mental ability and sharpness can be increased by keeping the brain active and agile. Mental exercises are extremely beneficial for your brain health.

The famous idiom, 'use it or lose' is aptly correct when applied to either muscles or brain.
Increased Mental Activity Assures Sharp Brain in Old Age
Increased Mental Activity Assures Sharp Brain in Old Age
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Having a lifestyle that is capable of stimulating your mental functions such as reading, writing, playing games or solving puzzles, promises you healthy aging of brain.

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According to the researchers, mental exercises are helpful in restoring and protecting structural integrity of the brain in older people.

Scientists believe that human brain, if kept busy during old age, can enhance brain acuteness and sharpness.

Prof. Konstantinos Arfanakis of the Rush University Medical Center and Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago conducted a study for assessing the importance of mental exercises in improving the mental sharpness during old age.

Around 152 volunteers were enrolled (average age 81 years) from Rush Memory and Aging Project, a project aimed at investigating the 'risk factor for Alzheimer's disease'.

All the volunteers were clinically examined for any cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's ailments or dementia.

They rated the frequency with which they read the newspaper, played games, played cards, wrote a letter, using a scale of 1 to 5.   

The scientists used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for evaluating the movement of water molecules in various areas of the brain. Higher diffusion rates are indicative of healthy and sound brain.

Konstantinos Arfanakis, the lead author of the study said, "Lower diffusion anisotropy values are consistent with aging."

The study revealed a positive relation between cognitive activity in the brain and diffusion values in the brain. The scientists observed that individuals engaging in mental activities or exercises in old age had diffusion anisotropy values identical to younger people. 

Prof. Arfanakis mentioned, "Several areas throughout the brain, including regions quite important to cognition, showed higher microstructural integrity with more frequent cognitive activity in late life. Keeping the brain occupied late in life has positive outcomes. Reading the newspaper, writing letters, visiting a library, attending a play or playing games, such as chess or checkers, are all simple activities that can contribute to a healthier brain."

Source: Medindia
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