The Washington Post recently reported on an Italian study that found “having a higher education and a mentally challenging job may help against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer’s disease.” Cognitive and memory tests, as well as brain scans were conducted on 242 individuals with Alzheimer’s. 72 had mild cogn9itive impairment and 144 had no memory impairment.
Using a pre-test post–test method, the study found that “among those with the same level of memory impairment, those with more education and more mentally demanding jobs had significantly fewer brain changes and damage than those with less education and less mentally demanding occupations”
Dr Garibotto hypothesizes that there are two potential reasons behind the resiliency of the educated /exercised brain enabling it to “compensate for the damage and allow them to maintain functioning in spite of damage”. One is that the brain “could be made stronger through education and occupational challenges. Or, genetic factors that enabled people to achieve higher education and occupational achievement might determine the amount of brain reserve”.
While right now it could go either way, what’s it hurt to just exercise that brain? There are many things one can do to help sharpen memory and mental agility – one of which is the Brain Age electronic video game, it offers speed drills as well as memory drills, and charts your progress so you can see how much your brain is improving.