Use it or lose it - Cognitive activity throughout life supports a healthy brain. Landau et al, Arch Neurol. Jan 23. [Epub ahead of print], 2012.
Use it or lose it – Cognitive activity throughout life supports a healthy brain. Landau et al, Arch Neurol. Jan 23. [Epub ahead of print], 2012.
The ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis is fairly well established in relation to brain ageing, and it makes good sense. In this study, researchers wanted to compare cognitive and physical activity taken over a person’s lifetime with the amount of a protein called ß-amyloid which had been deposited in their brain. ß-amyloid is the protein which is the key marker of Alzheimer’s disease. In total they studied 86 people (65 healthy older individuals with an average age of 76 years, 10 Alzheimer’s patients with an average age of 75 years, and 11 young healthy people with an average age of 25 years).
The researchers found a significant association between lower levels of ß-amyloid and greater participation in cognitively stimulating activities across the lifespan, particularly when undertaken in early and middle life. The researchers’ findings suggest that keeping your brain active throughout life may prevent or slow deposition of ß-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Landau SM, Marks SM, Mormino EC, Rabinovici GD, Oh H, O’Neil JP, Wilson RS, Jagust WJ. (2012) Association of Lifetime Cognitive Engagement and Low ß-Amyloid Deposition.Arch Neurol. Jan 23. [Epub ahead of print]
Click here for the abstract