The risk of dementia at a latter age can be halved as a result of intense mental activity, according to new research findings published in the Psychological Medicine. Cognitive decline can be prevented by a lifestyle that is mentally stimulating, and occupational complexity. As many as 29,000 people from 22 studies conducted across the world have revealed these results. The School of Psychiatry's Dr Michael Valenzuela has revealed that where the brain is concerned, it is a case of either use it or lose it.
If you increase your brain reserve over your lifetime, you seem to lessen the risk of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. The key conclusion is that individuals with high brain reserve have a 46% decreased risk of dementia, compared to those with a low brain reserve. All the studies assessed agreed that mentally stimulating leisure activities, even in late life, are associated with a protective effect. The brain reserve can be built up at any stage of life, regardless of age.
Dr Valenzuela's previous research showed that after five weeks of memory-based mental exercise, participants increased brain chemistry markers in the opposite direction to that seen in Alzheimer's disease. The change was centered around the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain which is affected by dementia.