University Education Increases Cognitive Reserve, Helps Fight Dementia, Says Research

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University Education Increases Cognitive Reserve, Helps Fight Dementia, Says Research

University Education Increases Cognitive Reserve, Helps Fight Dementia

New Delhi:  A research conducted by University of Exeter in United Kingdom and published in the journal PLOS Medicine, has brought forth another reason to opt for university education. According to the research, going to university or taking up leadership roles at work stimulates your brain. The study was conducted on 2000 mentally fit people over the age of 65. The study examined the theory that brain stimulating experiences in early or mid-life make people more resilient to changes brought about by age or illness. The research also found that such people have higher cognitive reserve.

The researchers found that people who had higher levels of cognitive reserve remained mentally fit for a longer time. This also made them less prone to illnesses such as dementia.  

According to PTI, Linda Clare, Professor at the University of Exeter said, "Losing mental ability is not inevitable in later life. We know that we can all take action to increase our chances of maintaining our own mental health, through healthy living and engaging in stimulating activities."

She said that it is vital to understand how and why this happens so that people could be given meaningful and effective measures to take control of their lives and live an active lifestyle even in old age. She said that people who engage themselves in stimulating activity which challenges their brain into adopting different strategies have a higher cognitive reserve. This causes the creation of a buffer in their brain which makes them more resilient toward mental illnesses caused by age. 

The research team analyzed if a healthy lifestyle was what led to better performance on a mental ability test and found that a healthy diet, more physical activity, more social and mentally stimulating activity and moderate alcohol consumption all were responsible in boosting cognitive performance.

"We found that people with a healthier lifestyle had better scores on tests of mental ability, and this was partly accounted for by their level of cognitive reserve," said Professor Bob Woods of Bangor University in the UK.

He also said that the results of the research highlighted the importance of measures which should be taken by older people in terms of diet, physical exercise, and mentally stimulating activities. 

(With Inputs from PTI)

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