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Study highlights benefits of physical, mental activity on thinking may differ in men and women

by Vaishali Sharma
mental ability

According to research, engaging in both physical and mental activities can help prevent dementia and maintain cognitive performance. According to a recent study, these benefits may differ between men and women. The study was published online in the American Academy of Neurology’s medical publication.

The study looked at how physical and mental activities, such as reading, attending courses, playing cards, or playing games, affected cognitive reserve in the areas of thinking speed and memory. Cognitive reserve is a defensive mechanism that maintains people’s minds sharp even when their brains show the underlying abnormalities associated with dementia and cognitive decline.

The study’s creator According to Judy Pa, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, higher levels of physical activity were connected to higher levels of thinking speed reserve in women but not in males. Increased mental activity was associated with greater reserves of thinking speed in both men and women.

Men and women who were more physically active had no larger memory reserves.

The 758 participants in the research had an average age of 76. Some people had dementia, whereas others had dementia with just minor cognitive impairment. Brain scans were performed on the patients in addition to memory and thinking-speed assessments.

To measure cognitive reserve, researchers compared the overall volume of the hippocampus, a prominent brain area damaged by Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other brain abnormalities connected to dementia, to people’s performance on thinking tasks.

People were also questioned about their average weekly physical activity. They were asked about their involvement in three types of mental activity in the past 13 months, including reading publications, newspapers, or books, attending classes, and playing cards, games, or bingo. They might get one point for each type of activity for a total of three points.

For mental activity, participants received an average of 1.4 points. On average, participants engaged in intense physical activity such as brisk walking and biking for at least 15 minutes every week.

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According to Pa, each additional mental activity a person participated in delayed the ageing of their thinking and processing skills by 13 years, or 17 years for men and 10 years for women.

“Prevention is essential because there are debatably few to no viable treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Pa once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s quite thrilling to see that people may possibly increase their cognitive reserve by making small changes like attending community centre classes, playing bingo with friends, or spending more time walking or gardening.

Based on the impact sizes reported in the study, doubling physical activity would be comparable to an estimated 2.75 less years of ageing in women’s processing speed and reasoning skills, according to Pa.

The researchers also looked at whether the APOE e4 gene, which is associated with the highest risk of Alzheimer’s disease, had an effect on the relationship between mental and physical exercise and cognitive reserve. They observed that having the gene reduces the advantages of the link between mental and physical activity and cognitive reserve in women.

The study found no relationship between enhanced cognitive reserve and either physical or mental activity. Only a connection is shown.

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