Wednesday, November 25, 2015

College studies may reduce risk of dementia for older adults, research finds

I suspect being a Tax-Aide volunteer has the same effect.

Public Release: 18-Nov-2015
College studies may reduce risk of dementia for older adults, research finds
Going back to school could boost cognitive capacity
American Psychological Association

Older adults who take college courses may increase their cognitive capacity and possibly reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

An Australian study called the Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project recruited 359 participants ages 50 to 79 who took a series of cognitive tests before completing at least a year of full-time or part-time study at the University of Tasmania. Participants were reassessed annually for three years following their studies. More than 90 percent of the participants displayed a significant increase in cognitive capacity, compared with 56 percent in a control group of 100 participants who didn't take any college courses.

"The study findings are exciting because they demonstrate that it's never too late to take action to maximize the cognitive capacity of your brain," said lead researcher Megan Lenehan, PhD. "We plan to follow these participants as they age to see if college studies could help delay the onset or reduce the debilitating effects of dementia."

Previous studies have examined how exercise, brain games and an active social life may boost cognitive capacity and possibly stem cognitive decline associated with aging. This study is the first to examine similar positive effects from college courses taken by older adults, said Lenehan, of the University of Tasmania.


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