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Brain Health and Alzheimer’s disease

Healthy SeniorHere is question 14 of 25 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions. To download the complete version, please click here.

Question:
Does a brain fitness program prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia?

Key Points:

  • Studies have shown mentally active people have lower rates and later onset of symptoms for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These diseases involve a number of variables like family history, physical fitness, nutrition, and brain fitness.
  • People who remain intellectually active and engage in hobbies reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by one third.

Answer:

No specific program has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s. However, regular brain exercise can slow the appearance of disease related symptoms. Studies have shown that particularly in the early stages of these diseases, the brain is still able to learn and change.

Learning is neuroprotective by increasing neuronal connections between neurons, increasing cellular metabolism, and increasing the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by your body to help maintain and repair neurons.

Building up your cognitive reserve while you’re young, aging well, or even are in the early stages of disease will most likely improve your quality of life even as the disease progresses. A larger reserve gives you a backup of neurons to help you continue to be self-sufficient for longer.

Unfortunately, nothing available today can fully prevent these diseases from occurring. However, regular training with a cognitive fitness program can postpone the appearance of the cognitive symptoms and build up your cognitive reserve.

Further Reading:

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