New Evidence Keeping Brain Sharp and Active Wards off Alzheimer’s
A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, provides even more reason for people to read a book or do a puzzle, and to make such activities a lifetime habit. Brain scans revealed that people with no symptoms of Alzheimer’s who engaged in cognitively stimulating activities throughout their lives had fewer deposits of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that is the hallmark of the disease. While previous research has suggested that engaging in mentally stimulating activities – such as reading, writing and playing games – may help stave off Alzheimer’s later in life, this new study identifies the biological target at play. This discovery could guide future research into effective prevention strategies. “These findings point to a new way of thinking about how cognitive engagement throughout life affects the brain,” said study principal investigator Dr. William Jagust. “Rather than simply providing resistance to Alzheimer’s, brain-stimulating activities may affect a primary pathological process in the disease. This suggests that cognitive therapies could have significant disease-modifying treatment benefits if applied early enough, before symptoms appear.”
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