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Exercise Your Brain to Prevent Memory Loss

February 20, 2009

Want to ward off memory loss? Pick up a magazine!

A new study found that simple mental activities like reading books or magazines, playing games or doing craft activities like pottery or quilting in middle age or later in life can actually delay or even prevent memory loss.

Nearly 200 people between the ages of 70 and 89 with diagnosed memory loss and more than 1,100 people in the same age group with no memory loss answered questions about their daily activities within the past year and in middle age, when they were between 50 and 65 years old.

Researchers discovered that those who participated in some of the aforementioned mental activities experienced a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the risk of developing memory loss compared to those who did not do those activities.

Also, those who watched less than seven hours of TV were 50 percent less likely to develop memory loss than those who spent more than seven hours a day in front of the TV.

People who reported reading magazines and participating in social activities during their middle ages were about 40 percent less likely to develop memory loss than those who did not do those activities.

“This study is exciting because it demonstrates that aging does not need to be a passive process. By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss,” study author Yonas Geda, M.D., MSc, a neuropsychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota was quoted as saying.

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