Posted by: Hourglass PJ7 AUG 2013
Cognitive decline in older age is understandably the subject of a huge amount of current research.
Although medicines are available and suitable for some patients, studies have also looked at the evidence for various mental exercises. Research published earlier this year showed a reasonable level of evidence for mental exercises such as computerised training programmes or intensive one-to-one personal cognitive training in memory, reasoning and speed of mental processing.
However, such programmes are not likely to be practical for most people and the research points to a need to investigate the possible benefit of more easily accessible activities such as crossword puzzles and sudoku, which have not been rigorously tested.
Interestingly, one recently published study found that brain stimulating activities such as reading and writing, both early and later in life may, help to preserve memory. The study found that the rate of cognitive decline was significantly reduced in people with frequent mental activity of this type in later life.
This finding suggests that the importance of activities like reading for people of any age, young and old, should not be underestimated. And for many people, reading or listening to a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures.