Study suggests cognitive decline can be slowed by mental fitness

  • Last updated Mar 22, 2017 at 9:22PM | Published on Apr 17, 2013
  • Richard Reich
mental fitness and cognitive decline

Cognitive decline caused by disorders like Alzheimer’s disease may be at least somewhat preventable, a study conducted at the University of Toronto has shown. According to HealthDay News, which reported on the topic on April 15, the results suggest that critical thinking and memory tasks could hold the key to improving the mental capacities of some older Americans.

Dr. Raza Naqvi, one of the authors of the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, told the source that a cross-review of over two dozen experiments conducted in the past several years produced the intriguing results. Interestingly, physical exercise and dietary supplements were not shown to have the same impact as mental exercise. During one particular project, participants played memory games in a controlled setting. Researchers noted that the individuals who took part in the games the most could, over time, maintain these higher standards of cognitive abilities.

“This review provides some evidence to help clinicians and their patients address what strategies might prevent cognitive decline,” Naqvi said in an interview. “Future studies should address the impact of cognitive training on the prevention of cognitive decline, and we encourage researchers to consider easily accessible tools such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku that have not been rigorously studied.”

Because mental processing disabilities affect nearly a quarter of the elderly population in the United States, these findings could be useful for doctors developing treatment plans for their patients. Similarly, senior citizens may want to find ways to stimulate their brains in order to stay mentally fit as they age.

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