Can Increasing Your Cognitive Activity Really Prevent Dementia?


What do the following people have in common: President Ronald Reagan, Iris Murdoch (British writer/philosopher), actor Charlton Heston, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Charles Powers?

The list could go on and on.

Well – the last name may give you a clue even if the others do not. The answer is, they all developed some form of dementia

I recently read an online article by a well-known internet doctor that said studies have shown that cognitive decline slowed in individuals who have had "more frequent cognitive activity across the life span."

In looking at the above list it certainly makes you wonder how much weight we can put on these "so-called" studies.

The first four were people who, their entire lives were constantly exposed to a high level of education, challenges and knowledge and should, therefore, prove the studies wrong.

As for my husband, he is college educated, a former teacher and career fighter pilot - did you ever look at the cockpit of a jet fighter? Now there's a brain challenge if there ever was one.

To this day he reads constantly.

Create your own list of well-known and not so well known, highly respected people, who over the years have developed cognitive impairment and tell me what you think.

Another recent report suggested that one in four people are destined to develop cognitive impairment based on current statistics.

These numbers have risen drastically in the last century. If anything, people are better read, better informed and more socially and politically active, constantly challenging their brains.

So what are the reasons for such startling statistics?

I think there is a lot going on in our environment that is causing the problem to escalate.

With all the warnings that are coming to the forefront about GMO's, air quality, mercury fillings, insecticides, fluoridation, water pollution, etc., I think the studies need to consider that the major factors in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are not lack of cognitive activity, but something far more ominous.

That's not to say that people who are genetically in danger of, or have already developed early signs of dementia do not need to exercise the brain. For now, exercising the brain seems to be the only tool we have to slow the progression of the disease.

But for studies to say that people with the least cognitive activity are more likely to develop impairment doesn't make any sense to me.

I live in a college town with a major medical center and research facilities. Hardly a day goes by that I don't read an obituary for a highly respected, over-the-top educated individual who died from Alzheimer's.

So you tell me – what exactly does "cognitive activity" have to with it?

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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Whether we develop a cognitive disability or not seem to be like a turn of the roulette wheel. There seems to be so many reasons, known and unknown, for why some people get it and some don't. Both of my parents are effected by it and have had to move to a care facility. Dad is 92 and Mom is 87. In Dad's family, no one had this issue. They lived healthy lives into their late 80's and 90's. Mom's family, her parents died young, in their 40's and 60's. Her grandmother was 96 when she passed and yes, she had dementia. My parents ate healthy fresh foods and Dad was a discipline walker of many miles a day. I don't think we should beat ourselves up for our past unhealthy choices. I've decided I'm not going to fear it. I'm going to take care of myself and live my life with gusto! Since my crystal ball is dirty, I don't know what the future holds for me. I believe, we can prepare financial for our old age and plan for a long healthy life. We can enjoy our life as the roulette wheel spins and hope the marble doesn't drop into the cognitively impaired slot. But, to dwell upon getting it....that might call it to us. Dwelling on it certainly won't make us happy and enrich our lives. After all, what we focus on grows.
I agree with NMcAdam, let's face it the marble is going to fall in some slot on the roulette wheel. It could be any number of diseases we fall prey to. The fact is we all die of something or another, so we need to prepare for the worst, expect nothing and hope for the best. Live your life today, it is all you have, yesterday is history, tomorrow is promised to nobody. We do not know the minute nor the hour, so instead of worrying about it, I am going to live now and wear my party pants, use my good china, drink from my good crystal. Enjoy what I have because I am not taking nothing on the next journey and I'd rather break crystal now than have some estate predator take my dusty glasses and good things that I never enjoyed.
ah, what an article. Well in my honest opinion and not hopeful conjecture on my part, I think it has to do with a lot of factors. I do believe genetics plays a big role, but it does not necessarily doom those children. I do believe a great deal has to be placed on continuing cognitive pursuits. The way we look and perceive our world has a great part in it. The children of a generation of the "depression" have a lot to overcome, the less than mentality, the lack, and the impression that life is to be tolerated mentality. I think this puts a terrible focus on a "lack" sense of mortality. I think it is positive to have friends, connections, a sense of self. Do the crossword, meditate, get exercise and eat a good healthy diet comprised of mainly vegetables, fruits, fresh water. Get out in the air, love the animals, love nature, this I thinks lends one to a healthy state of grace. Most people I've known to develop cognitive decline, experience after years of self-imposed isolationism, lack of interaction and become completely obsessed with their own self importance.