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Greater midlife intellectual activity helpful in preventing dementia in later life

Posted Aug 11 2009 10:35am
From Geriatric Pharmacy Intern Wendy Johnson, PharmD(c)
University of Florida College of Pharmacy

Researchers have found that greater midlife intellectual activity is helpful in preventing dementia later in life. A 28-year study of twins conducted at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Duke University Medical Center found that including a range of brain stimulating activities in one's life can reduce the onset of dementia by as much as 26 percent. These activities include but are not limited to reading, playing games that required thinking skills, and doing crossword puzzles. Researchers also found activities that require a lesser degree of thinking skills and were more social in nature such as going to the movies, and visiting with friends and family was also associated with less risk for developing dementia.

The evidence is still conflicting, however, on whether greater midlife physical activity provides any protection. The results of this study are of particular importance for the generation of baby boomers. It is estimated that approximately one third of their lives will be spent after retirement, and this study may give them new knowledge on how to attain a better quality of life in their senior years.
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