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Education, work and social life may help protect the brain from cognitive decline - ScienceDaily

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Why do some people with amyloid plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease show no signs of the disease, while others with the same amount of plaques have distinct memory and thinking problems? In a study published online August 3, 2022, researchers found genetic and life-course factors that may help create a “cognitive reserve” that provides a buffer against disease. I paid attention to neurology®the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

They found that factors such as participation in clubs, religious groups, sports or artistic activities, educational attainment by age 26, occupation, and reading comprehension can affect cognitive reserve in the brain. This research suggests that continuing lifelong learning may help protect the brain. Previous research has shown that people with lower childhood scores are more likely to experience a sharp decline in cognitive function in old age than those with higher scores.

“These results suggest that cognitive performance is influenced by a variety of factors throughout our lifetime, and that participating in an intellectually, socially and physically active lifestyle may help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.” It’s exciting because it shows that it could help the Sussex Medical College, England: “By building a cognitive reserve, you don’t benefit from a rich childhood and have a stronger psyche until later in life.” It is heartening to find that the negative effects of poor childhood cognitive performance may be offset for those who may not have been able to provide resilience.”

The study involved 1,184 people born in England in 1946. They took a cognitive test when he was 8 and again when he was 69. The Cognitive Reserve Index combines education level at age 26, participation in substantial leisure activities at age 43, and occupation by age 53. Reading ability at age 53 was also tested as a measure of overall lifelong learning separate from education and occupation.

The maximum total score for participants on cognitive tests taken at age 69 was 100. The average score for this group was 92, with a lowest score of 53 and a highest score of 100.

Researchers found that higher cognitive performance in childhood, a higher cognitive reserve index, and better reading comprehension were all associated with higher scores on cognitive tests at age 69. . An average of 0.10 point increase. Each unit increase in cognitive reserve index increased cognitive score by an average of 0.07 points, and each unit increase in reading ability increased cognitive score by an average of 0.22 points.

Those with a bachelor’s degree or other higher education qualification scored 1.22 points more on average than those without formal education. Those who did six or more leisure activities, including adult education classes, clubs, volunteer work, social activities, and gardening, gave him 1.53 points more on average than those who did her four leisure activities. Those in professional or intermediate-level jobs scored 1.5 points more on average than those in partially-skilled or unskilled jobs.

The study also found that people with higher cognitive reserve indices and reading skills did not decline as rapidly as those with lower cognitive test scores, regardless of test scores at age 8.

Dr. Michal Schnaider Beeri, of the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York, wrote an editorial accompanying the study, saying, “From a public health and societal perspective, there may be wide-ranging and long-term benefits of high levels of investment. there is potential,” he said. Education, expanding opportunities for leisure activities, and providing cognitively challenging activities for people, especially those in less skilled occupations. ”

A limitation of the study was that people who continued to participate in the study until age 69 were more likely to be healthier, have better overall thinking skills, and have social advantages than those who did not complete the study. That’s it. It reflects the general population.

This work was supported by the Alzheimer’s Disease UK, the UK Medical Research Council, the US National Institute on Aging, and the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

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Materials provided American Neurological Association. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.