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Mentally Stimulating Activities May Decrease the Time a Person Suffers From Dementia (Audio Explanation)

Posted Sep 04 2010 5:57am
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

A research study released this week has created a fair amount of controversy and misinformation about the effects of cognitive activity on persons that ultimately suffer from Alzheimer's.

The controversy itself was probably caused by the title of the press release issued by the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago. The release was entitled

As it turns out, a poor choice of wording.

You can read the press release and my article here.

A better explanation would have been written something like this
New research suggests that older people who did mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles postponed the loss of thinking skills, but had an accelerated rate of decline once dementia set in later in life.

This quote by Robert S. Wilson, PhD, neuropsychologist, at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center also helps clarify the findings of the research
"We think what a cognitively active lifestyle does is help delay the initial appearance of cognitive impairment in old age and allows a person to have a longer period of cognitive vitality and cognitive independence...So that at the end of the day, you're spending a lesser proportion of your lifespan in a cognitively dependent, demented state, which I think is what we're all after."

Finally, this interview with Dr. Rush on National Public Radio (NPR) does a good job of clarifying the purpose and finding of the research study.

More About the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,810 articles with more than 89,500 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room

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