Researchers have found that lifelong intellectual activity can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by years.
In a study published in the journal JAMA Neurology, researchers found that people who were genetically prone to Alzheimer’s held off the disease up to a decade longer if they worked in a complex field or were college-educated. Practice of intellectual activities like reading and playing music was also found to delay the disease substantially.
The researchers studied 1,995 Minnesota residents without dementia, looking at their education, occupation and mid- to late-life intellectual activities. They found that people who engaged in brain-stimulating activities delayed the onset of dementia and had better memory levels.
For people carrying the ApoE4 gene, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, intellectual activity staved off the disease by an average of 3.5 years. The ApoE4 gene is found in approximately 25 percent of the population.