Being a Lifelong Bookworm May Keep You Sharp in Old Age (Smithsonian.com):
“…findings, published online today in Neurology, suggest that reading books, writing and engaging in other similar brain-stimulating activities slows down cognitive decline in old age, independent of common age-related neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, people who participated in mentally stimulating activities over their lifetimes, both in young, middle and old age, had a slower rate of decline in memory and other mental capacities than those who did not…
Reading gives our brains a workout because comprehending text requires more mental energy than, for example, processing an image on a television screen.”
Study: Life-span cognitive activity, neuropathologic burden, and cognitive aging (Neurology). From the Abstract:
- Objective: To test the hypothesis that cognitive activity across the life span is related to late-life cognitive decline not linked to common neuropathologic disorders.
- Methods: On enrollment, older participants in a longitudinal clinical-pathologic cohort study rated late-life (i.e., current) and early-life participation in cognitively stimulating activities. After a mean of 5.8 years of annual cognitive function testing, 294 individuals had died and undergone neuropathologic examination. Chronic gross infarcts, chronic microscopic infarcts, and neocortical Lewy bodies were identified, and measures of ?-amyloid burden and tau-positive tangle density in multiple brain regions were derived.
- Conclusions: More frequent cognitive activity across the life span has an association with slower late-life cognitive decline that is independent of common neuropathologic conditions, consistent with the cognitive reserve hypothesis.