Alzheimer’s can be lowered through mental activities, study reveals

Stimulating brain activities such as crosswords, knitting and gardening have proven just as effective in lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as physical activity.

A Swedish study conducted by the University of Gothenburg has revealed that less strenuous activities such as walking, reading and household choirs can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.

Throughout the study, the researchers regularly asked the participants what physical and mental activities they participated in.

According to how physically active they were, the participants were divided into three groups; the first group would be passive, the second group would participate in light exercise for at least four hours a week, and the third group would complete a minimum of three hours of intense physical exercise a week.

The study revealed that during the 44-year study, nearly one in four individuals developed dementia.

Participants who were the most physically active halved their risk of developing dementia from the vascular disease compared to those who were completely inactive.

In addition, people who were most culturally active were also protected against dementia, especially Alzheimer’s.

Those who were artistic, intellectual, or who undertook manual activities had a 46 per cent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than women who weren’t so mentally active.

These culturally active individuals had a 34 per cent lower risk of developing other forms of dementia.

Ingmar Skoog, Director of AgeCap, the Centre for Aging and Health at the University of Gothenburg, said: “This shows that there are many opportunities for preventing dementia and that it can be just as important to focus on cultural activities as on physical activity in order to maintain health in old age.

“It’s also important to remember that high levels of activity are not necessary for people to reap a beneficial effect.”

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