Keeping dementia at bay

According to the BBC News, a recent study shows that keeping mentally active could help protect the brain in old age.

In a recent US study, 294 people were given tests that measured memory and thinking, every year for about six years, until their deaths.

They also answered a questionnaire about whether they read books, wrote letters and took part in other activities linked to mental stimulation during childhood, adolescence, middle age and in later life.

After death, their brains were examined for evidence of the physical signs of dementia, such as brain lesions and plaques.

The study found that those who had a record of keeping the brain busy had a rate of cognitive decline estimated at 15% slower than those who did not.

Dr Robert Wilson, who led the study, said the research suggested exercising the brain across a lifetime was important for brain health in old age.

He told the BBC News: "The brain that we have in old age depends in part on what we habitually ask it to do in life. What you do during your lifetime has a great impact on the likelihood these age-related diseases are going to be expressed."

To read the article in full on the BBC website, click here.