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Language Skills, Social Networks Two Allies in Fight Against Alzheimer's

Posted Jul 20 2009 11:28pm
People with more developed language skills as young adults may be better able to stay sharp well into old age, even if they develop Alzheimer's-like abnormalities in their brains.

The findings suggest that this may be in part because their remaining brain cells become extra large to compensate. According to scientists, people's brains can adapt and change -- a phenomenon known as plasticity -- well into an individual's 80s and 90s. It's possible that neurons get bigger to compensate for damage done by the toxic proteins produced in Alzheimer's disease.

The results were published in the journal Neurology.

Scientists have wondered why some people with plaques and tangles in their brains characteristic of Alzheimer's have intact mental faculties their whole lives. Rush University conducted similar studies and found that people with the tangles and plaques in their brains that did not show symptoms were those who had broad social networks.

So this is making sense. Develop your language skills and use them to cultivate meaningful relationships.
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