According to scientists, education can prevent dementia.
It is believed that dementia risks can be decreased in people with at least high school education. Also, lifestyle improvements as well as physical activity can prevent the cognitive decline. Statistics showed people in the U.S are prone to develop Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia as they age.
Dementia is known as the loss of mental ability that interferes with daily activities. Brain cells die which leads to lack of judgment, language difficulties or hallucinations making people unable to make the difference between what is real and what is not.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, especially in individuals over 60-65 years old. The new study suggests that better education and higher efforts to keep mental health in a good state can have better results for people. The researchers analyzed brain health in patients over age 60 since 1975 in order to see how many developed dementia in a period of four decades.
They noticed that since 1977 there was a decrease in dementia development of 20 percent per decade. Also, vascular dementia rate was 29 percent per decade. The participants were mostly white and suburban. This might imply the results may not be valid for all races and ethnicities.
What’s more, the decline in new dementia cases appeared only in individuals who had at least a high school diploma. Moreover, high school graduates were the ones whose cardiovascular health, except for obesity and diabetes, improved significantly over the same 40 years.
Dr. Sudha Seshadri, neurologist at Boston University Medical Center, explained that:
“Whether education is beneficial in itself or whether education is a marker for other things like poverty and unhealthy lifestyle, we didn’t parse that out”.
However, another study pointed out a similar trend among African-Americans in Indianapolis. It was found that new cases of dementia diminished from 1992 to 2001. Those who participated in 2001 had more education but also more cardiovascular problems than those from 1992. Moreover, the group from 2001 received more medical treatment than the other group.
There are many reasons why education can help stave off dementia. It is considered that it results in better economy, which enables healthier lifestyles and better access to medical care. Moreover, learning activities are known to generate more neural connections.
This helps the brain to compensate longer in cases of memory loss. The studies made researchers to conclude the more education, the better chances to prevent dementia. For further details, the study can be found in The New England Journal of Medicine.
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