The protective effects of an active cognitive lifestyle arise through multiple biological pathways, new research suggests. For some time researchers have been aware of a link between what we do with our brains and the long-term risk for dementia. In general, those who are more mentally active or maintain an active cognitive lifestyle throughout their lives are at lower risk. New research throws some light on what may be happening at the biological level.
“These findings suggest that increased engagement in stimulating activities are part of a lifestyle that is, overall, more healthy,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “Rather than specifically protecting the health of activated circuits, it seems that a more active lifestyle has general effects on brain health reflected in greater neuronal density and preservation of the blood supply to the brain.”
“Overall, our research suggests that multiple complex brain changes may be responsible for the ‘use it or lose it’ effect,” Valenzuela added.
Source: Elsevier. “Protecting your brain: ‘Use it or lose it’.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2012.