I’m a book worm. As far as I’m concerned, there are few things as enjoyable as curling up on the couch with a good book and a cup of coffee.
And if you share my love of reading, according to a new study you could be sending your risk for dementia plummeting.
Because the exciting new research conducting in China (where they happen to know a good deal about aging well) found that the “library cure,” could help prevent dementia. And it could work for you too.
I’ll have more on this anti-dementia breakthrough in just a moment. But first let’s take a closer look at the condition.
The devastating truth about dementia
There’s good news and bad news.
The good news is most older adults don’t suffer from serious cognitive impairment. But the bad news is an estimated 50 million folks worldwide have dementia. And we’re adding over nine million people to that list each year.
In other words, none of us is safe from the devastating condition.
When the decline in your memory or thinking skills becomes severe enough to interfere with your ability to do everyday tasks, you have dementia. And experts say Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
So it’s really no wonder that seniors list dementia, and losing their memory, as one of their number one fears as they age.
Which means anything we can do to slash our dementia risk is worth celebrating. And I’m uncorking the virtual champagne. Because the new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has certainly given us something to toast.
Study: “Intellectual activities” slash dementia risk
Scientists tracked over 15,500 folks who were 65 and older for five years. None of the volunteers had dementia at the start of the study. But by the end of the five years, 1,300 unlucky souls had developed the condition.
At the start of the study, volunteers took part in extensive interviews. Researchers asked them about any “intellectual activities,” they participated in over the past month.
As I mentioned earlier reading books, one of my favorite pastimes, was on the list. But it was far from the brain stimulating activity which did. Others which made the list were reading newspapers or magazines, playing board games and even betting on races.
In each follow up interview over the five years, folks were again asked to share what intellectual activities they’d been pursuing. And their health was evaluated too.
When the researchers crunched the data, they found that the risk of developing dementia was SIGNIFICANTLY lower among the folks who regularly participated in brain-stimulating activities, compared to volunteers who rarely or never did.
And the association remained rock solid even when the scientists adjusted for other things which could have affected the results, such as how often people exercised or a healthy diet.
Now this wasn’t a cause and effect type study of course. But it’s not the first time research has hinted at this connection either.
Word games linked to better reasoning & memory skills
Research conducted at the University of Exeter Medical School and Kings College London, for example, found that folks who regularly played word puzzles such as crosswords, performed significantly better on tasks designed to evaluate reasoning, attention and memory.
Plus the more often they played the brain-stimulating games the better they scored on the tests.
We still have a lot to learn when it comes to the mysteries of the brain. But there’s plenty of evidence (and it’s growing) that participating in intellectual activities such as reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing cards and board games could help prevent dementia.
And considering how enjoyable they are, it just makes sense to start doing them MORE often starting today.
You can protect your brain even further by giving up smoking, staying physically active and eating a diet with lots of brain-friendly foods. Wild caught fish, berries, spinach and coffee can all help support a healthy brain and can perhaps lower your dementia risk.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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