Can reading actually help prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s? Though the scientific proof of this is still being worked out, there’s evidence that expanding your brain and constantly feeding it more information could help reduce the risk of early onset conditions. As you prepare to pull out your favorite classic or a modern science journal to cozy up with in the corner, realize the potential that reading really has to offer.
Why Reading Matters
As any freelance health writers will attest, the more you write and read, the more interesting your written work gets. In other words, by expanding your horizon, you can pull in new information, new ways of saying the same old thing and build new experiences. The same may be true for those at risk of developing dementia.
Like a sponge soaking in the words, the brain craves information. The question is, can reading help to maintain good brain health? Some experts say that this is possible.
It’s In The Research
Studies have been done by various organizations exploring the ways to keep the brain sharp and to ensure cognitive decline as a person ages. According to one study, published by the National Institute of Health called, Exploring Interventions to Reduce Cognitive Decline in Aging, the author states that there is evidence that brain function can be maintained through proper stimulus. Findings in the study support the belief that cognitive and physical activity, social engagement, as well as proper nutrition, all play a role in this process.
What You Can Do
For those who may be at risk of developing cognitive limitations, including dementia, as they get older, it’s important to keep the mind growing and learning with new information pouring in on a regular basis. That saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” really does not apply. Rather, reading is just one step in the right direction of potentially preventing or reducing the risks of developing these types of impairments. What can you do?
- Read something every day. It does not matter if it is online, in a book or in the newspaper.
- Challenge your mind with more difficult types of reading. Rather than reading just the comics in the newspaper, pick up a classic and attempt to read it.
- Science is an incredible tool for improving the mind. Find an aspect of science that you enjoy and use it to teach yourself something new.
Even playing games such as chess can help to strengthen those brain waves and provide an avenue for expanding your skills. The goal is not just to read anything, but read something that is new, interesting, hard to understand or a complete foreign concept to you. This forces new connections in the brain to happen and, as your brain works up a sweat, you can rest assured it is pushing the risks of dementia lower. No one is saying that reading is going to stop the onset in everyone, but it can help give you that slight edge you need.
Sandy B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.