Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Reading or watching TV tonight?

booksBeing a Life­long Book­worm May Keep You Sharp in Old Age (

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.”

StudyLife-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.


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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning

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