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Brain Training and Dementia

Are you now at the age where you feel like putting your feet up, listening to the radio, doing the odd crossword, playing a board game, or in these days of computer technology the odd brain training game?

These types of pastimes have always been seen as ways of keeping the old grey matter fit and well and slow the decline of our mental abilities meltdown.

Well, our cousins across the pond at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. have been researching the effects these types of games have on our mental abilities. It appears while these types of mental activity games slow the decline of thinking skills if dementia has already set in it actually accelerates the problem.

Robert Wilson, a professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. and his research team do agree with the adage “use it or lose it”. He is reported as saying, “We do think that a cognitively active lifestyle is protective up to some point”

Researchers evaluated 1,157 individuals aged 65 years and older The research was carried over a 12 year period. At the start of the exercise, none of the people studied had dementia and were asked on a one-to-one basis how many mentally enhancing activities they were engaged in. A score was given for each activity. The more often people engaged in stimulating activities the higher they scored.

Twelve years later researchers evaluated the information gathered. It was found that for those who did not have dementia their mental decline had been greatly reduced by 52 percent for each point on the cognitive activity scale. While those who developed Alzheimer’s disease their mental decline had increased at a rate of 42 percent for each point on the cognitive activity scale.

At the end of the day with or without dementia we are all in God’s waiting room (to coin a saying). Some of us go quietly, while others suffer greatly before passing on.