AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Keeping Mind Active May Delay Symptoms of Alzheimer's, but Not Underlying Disease

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In this study, it was found that people who keep up a high level of both physical and mental health in middle age may be able to stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s. However, the activity does not affect the changes that occur in the brain as a result of the disease for most people. About 20 percent of the population are carriers for the gene linked to Alzheimer’s: APOE4. Findings from the study showed that those with the gene who had a least 14 years of education and were mentally active in middle age had lower levels of amyloid plaques that can build up in the brain and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. “Recent studies have shown conflicting results about the value of physical and mental activity related to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and we noticed that levels of education different in those studies,” said study author Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “When we looked specifically at the level of lifetime learning, we found that carriers of the APOE4 gene who had higher education and continued to learn through middle age had fewer amyloid deposition on imaging when compared to those who did not continue with intellectual activity in middle age.” To read more about this study, click here

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