Stimulating activities can delay Alzheimer’s by five years, study suggests

A recent study has revealed that brain-stimulating activities, such as reading, writing, and playing games, could make the brain more resilient to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study aimed to examine the link between cognitively stimulating activity and the onset of the disease.

It can be suggested that adults who participate in these activities could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years.

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory problems and confusion, with more severe symptoms including an inability to communicate or experiencing seizures.

Notably, previous studies have found that activities, like reading, have links with a lower risk of cognitive decline. It has also been suggested that they delay the onset of cognitive symptoms relating to Alzheimer’s by enhancing cognitive reserve. This is a reserve of thinking abilities, developed over a lifetime.

This has been a known link by scientists for some time now, however, the reason behind it had remained unclear.

More recently, scientists have conducted a study investigating the link between the levels of cognitive activity and the age of Alzheimer’s onset, alongside other factors.

The scientists studied data from 1,903 individuals with an average age of 79.7 years and none of the participants had a dementia diagnosis at the beginning of the study.

After enrolment, the participants answered seven questions to assess their levels of cognitive activity. These included questions on how much time they spent reading each day, how often they wrote letters, and how often they played games such as cards or puzzles.

The researchers then collected evidence on cognitive activity early on in life, loneliness, and participation in social activities, including visiting friends or relatives.

After following them for an average of nearly seven years, the scientists autopsied 695 participant brains after death.

By the end of the study, 457 participants had developed Alzheimer’s. They tended to be older at the start of the investigation and have slightly fewer years of education than other participants.

Those with the highest levels of cognitive activity in old age developed Alzheimer’s at an average age of 93.6 years. Meanwhile, those with the lowest levels of cognitive activity in old age developed the condition at 88.6 years.

From this study, researchers concluded that repeated engagement in these types of activities may enhance certain neural systems so that more harm is needed before they stop working. Therefore, this would delay the chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s earlier on in life.

At Synergy Complex Care, we provide personalised care and support for adults in their own homes, specialising in helping those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and other debilitating conditions.

 For more help or advice, please contact us today.

Posted in Complex behaviour.