“An intellectually, socially and physically active lifestyle can prevent dementia”

Leading an “intellectually, socially and physically active lifestyle” may help protect against dementia and other cognitive declines, according to a new study.

This could include continuing education or participating in hobbies.

The new study, published in the journal Neurology, looked at various factors that can lead to cognitive decline.

It involved some 1,184 participants, all of whom were born in the UK in 1946.

These findings are exciting because they indicate that cognitive ability is subject to factors throughout our lives, and that participating in an intellectually, socially, and physically active lifestyle may help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.

Dr Dorina Cadar, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

The researchers looked at each participant’s childhood cognition at age eight, their “educational level” at age 26, their engagement in leisure activities at age 43, and their occupation. until the age of 53.

The participants’ reading ability was also assessed at age 53 as well as an examination on their cognitive abilities at age 69.

This test had a maximum score of 100 and the average score of the participants was 92.

The researchers found that those who did better on the cognitive test for people aged 69 were more likely to have scored higher on assessments taken earlier in life – childhood cognitive skills, “the ‘cognitive reserve index’ and reading ability tests.

Those with a degree performed better than those with no formal education.

But the team of academics found that continuing to learn throughout life can help protect the brain.

Participants who engaged in six or more leisure activities, such as adult education classes, clubs, volunteer work, social activities and gardening, scored higher than those who engaged in up to four leisure activities.

Study author Dr Dorina Cadar, from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: ‘These findings are exciting as they indicate that cognitive ability is subject to factors throughout our lives, and that taking part in an intellectually, socially and physically active lifestyle can help stave off cognitive decline and dementia.

“Encouragingly, building cognitive reserve can offset the negative influence of low childhood cognition for people who might not have enjoyed a fulfilling childhood, and provide greater resilience. mental until later in life.”

The authors also found that people who had “professional” careers performed better on cognitive tests at age 69 compared to people who had “unskilled” jobs.

From a public health and societal perspective, there can be vast long-term benefits from investing in higher education, expanding opportunities for leisure activities, and providing cognitively stimulating activities for people. , especially those in less skilled jobs.

Dr. Michal Schnaider Beeri, Icahn School of Medicine

Dr Michal Schnaider Beeri, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, said: “From a public health and societal perspective, it may There are long-term benefits to investing in education, expanding opportunities for leisure activities and providing cognitively stimulating activities for people, especially those working in less skilled occupations.

Commenting on the study, Katherine Gray, head of research communications at the Alzheimer Society, said: “This long-term study funded by the Alzheimer Society adds to a popular theory that the more regularly you challenge your brain, the less you are likely to experience memory and thinking problems in your later years.

“From childhood to adulthood, participants who kept their brains active, whether through school, careers, or participating in complex hobbies, had better thinking skills at the age of 69.

“It is estimated that the number of people with dementia in the UK will reach 1.6 million by 2040. Although there are many risk factors linked to the development of dementia, it is good to know that s Engaging in mentally stimulating activities and finding ways to regularly challenge your brain can help reduce the development of memory and thinking problems in the future.

It comes as a new study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association international conference in San Diego has concluded that high blood pressure during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of dementia.

According to the researchers, women who suffer from high blood pressure when pregnant are more likely to be diagnosed with vascular dementia later in life.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “High blood pressure is a risk factor for poor heart health, which has a knock-on effect on our brain health. This new research highlights the impact that high blood pressure and related disorders during pregnancy can have on women’s risk of developing dementia later in life.

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