Level of education doesn’t hinder Alzheimer’s

A recent study has suggested that there is no link between the level of education and a person’s risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The study had 3,000 participants with an average age of 78 years old, these volunteers were split into three groups dependent on their level of education; education of 12 or fewer years; 13 to 16 years of education; and 17 or more years.

Findings indicated that there was no correlation between higher education and a slower decline in cognitive thinking and memory. Moreover, education levels did not affect the age people were when they had noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s. And finally, the autopsies showed that education levels didn’t appear to affect the way dementia changes the brain either.

Over the eight-year study, researchers found in the follow-up appointments 700 people (23 per cent) developed dementia.

Study author, Robert Wilson from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago said: “Education is related to cognitive growth in early life, but it wasn’t associated with cognitive change as you age. What’s more important is what you’re doing now, than what you did 40 or 50 years ago.

“Continuing to do things such as learning a new language, social activities, having a purpose in life, or engaging in mentally demanding work may help keep your brain sharper as you get older.”

One limitation of this study is that the whole group had very educated people involved, and perhaps if a wider range of education levels were compared, it’s possible that there might have been a difference in results.

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