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.

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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?