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Health Discoveries in General Health News

Mental exercises lower dementia risk for those with little education

January 29, 2010
A study from Brandeis University shows that mental exercises such as word games and reading can help less educated middle-aged and older people to lower their risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

While it is documented that those with higher education show more cognitive ability as they age, exercises that strengthen mental skills can compensate for less education, according to the study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

"The findings are promising because they suggest there may be ways to level the playing field for those with lower educational achievement, and protect those at greatest risk for memory declines," said psychologist Margie Lachman, who authored the study.

The Midlife in the United States study assessed 3,343 men and women, ages 32 to 84, with 40 percent of them having a college degree.

Among its clinical trials, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has ongoing studies that are related to aging. Two of these studies involve evaluating how the aging process and genes affect mental skills such as memory and how fast people process information. Researchers at the institute, the research arm of North Shore-LIJ Health System, are using DNA from patients with neurological diseases to understand the connection between mental abilities and genetic variations.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19588508-ADNFCR
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