Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Resources
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Life Span After Alzheimer's Diagnosis: What Factors Matter MostLots of Napping Could Raise a Senior's Odds for Alzheimer'sIs It 'Pre-Alzheimer's' or Normal Aging? Poll Finds Many Americans UnclearMore Evidence That Education May Protect Against DementiaAHA News: These Three Risk Factors May Have the Biggest Impact on Dementia CasesAHA News: Traumatic Brain Injury May Raise Veterans' Long-Term Stroke RiskMore Years Playing Hockey, Higher Odds for CTE Linked to Head InjuryEarly Menopause May Raise a Woman's Odds for DementiaPandemic Caused Rise in Deaths of Alzheimer's PatientsStaying Fit May Keep Alzheimer's at BayConcussion's Impact on Memory, Thinking May Linger More Than a YearBrain Injuries May Be Driving Higher Death Rate for U.S. VeteransHints That Viagra-Like Drugs Might Help Prevent DementiaAHA News: Statistics Report Offers Snapshot of the Nation's Brain Health – And a Guide to Protecting ItKeeping Weight Stable Could Help Save Your BrainMedicare Proposes to Only Cover Alzheimer's Drug Aduhelm for Use in Clinical TrialsAduhelm: Will Medicare Cover the Controversial Alzheimer's Drug?More U.S. Seniors, Especially Women, Are Retaining Healthy Brains: StudyMaker Cuts Price of Controversial New Alzheimer's Drug in HalfCertain Meds Raise Odds for Delirium After SurgeryCould Viagra Help Prevent Alzheimer's?Clearing Out Clutter Might Not Help People With DementiaLifetime Spent With Epilepsy Ages the Brain, Study Finds'Mild Cognitive Impairment' in Older Age Often Disappears, Study FindsMore Years Playing Football, More Brain Lesions on MRI: StudyReminder Apps on Smartphones May Help in Early DementiaNeurologists' Group Issues Guidance to Families on Controversial Alzheimer's DrugTrial Begins of Nasal Vaccine for Alzheimer's DiseaseAlzheimer's Diagnosis May Come With Big Cost to Social LifeCould Estrogen Help Shield Women's Brains From Alzheimer's?Purrfect Pal: Robotic Cats May Help People With DementiaRight Amount of Sleep May Be Important in Early Alzheimer'sAHA News: Hearing Loss and the Link to DementiaDepression in Early Life May Up Dementia Risk LaterScientists Untangle Why Diabetes Might Raise Alzheimer's RiskTracking Key Protein Helps Predict Outcomes in TBI PatientsMIND Diet May Guard Against Alzheimer'sSigns of Early Alzheimer's May Be Spotted in Brain StemCould Cholesterol Help Drive Alzheimer's Disease?Most Alzheimer's Patients Wouldn't Have Qualified for Controversial Drug's Trial: StudyAHA News: What Are Researchers Doing to Stop Dementia?A Mentally Challenging Job Could Help Ward Off DementiaDirty Air, Higher Dementia Risk?An ALS Drug Shows Early Promise Against Alzheimer'sAHA News: Dementia Can Complicate Heart Recovery and TreatmentDeaths From Alzheimer's Far More Common in Rural AmericaCould COVID-19 Accelerate Alzheimer's Symptoms?Dementia Cases Will Nearly Triple Worldwide by 2050: StudyFDA Panel Advisor Who Panned New Alzheimer's Drug Speaks Out'Light Flash' Treatment Might Help Slow Alzheimer's
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

More Evidence That Education May Protect Against Dementia


HealthDay News
Updated: Mar 8th 2022

new article illustration

TUESDAY, March 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Not everyone who becomes forgetful as they age develops dementia, and a new study suggests that those with college degrees and advanced language skills are likely to get better.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an early stage of memory loss marked by lapses in memory and thinking problems that don't interfere with everyday life. While people with MCI are more likely to develop dementia than folks who don't have these early memory lapses, some improve and return to normal.

"Although many people assume that if they develop mild cognitive impairment they will inevitably progress to dementia, we found encouraging evidence that this is not so," said study author Suzanne Tyas, an associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Education and language skills can help predict who will go on to develop dementia and who won't, the study found.

"These factors reflect exercise for the brain, and our work suggests they may be indicators of cognitive reserve," Tyas said. But exactly how cognitive reserve helps protect from dementia is not fully understood yet.

"One possible mechanism is neural compensation, where the brains of those individuals with higher levels of cognitive reserve may, by using alternate brain networks, be more able to compensate for the brain changes that originally led to mild cognitive impairment," Tyas explained.

The researchers analyzed data on 619 U.S. Catholic nuns, age 75 and up, in a long-running study of aging and Alzheimer's disease.

The nuns took tests measuring memory and other mental skills for up to 12 years or until they died.

A total of 472 women were diagnosed with MCI during the study, and about a third (143) regained their normal memory level at least once during an average 8.5 years after diagnosis. Nearly 84% of these 143 nuns never developed dementia.

Another third did progress to dementia without ever reverting to normal thinking and memory skills, while 3% stayed in the MCI stage, and 36% of the nuns died.

The participants who earned a bachelor's degree had more than double the chances of getting their memory back compared to those with a grade school or high school education. Nuns who had a master's degree or more advanced education were even more likely to regain their normal thinking skills after an MCI diagnosis, the study found.

The findings also offer reassurance for folks without such high levels of formal education, Tyas said.

Language skills, including those reflected in high grades in English class or in strong writing skills, also protected against dementia, the study found.

Those who had high grades in English but not in other subjects were almost twice as likely to improve after MCI as to develop dementia. What's more, participants with strong writing skills based on number of ideas expressed were four times more likely to improve than progress to dementia, the study showed. This effect was even stronger for those whose writing used complex grammatical structure, Tyas said.

"Language is a complex function of the brain, so it makes sense that strong language skills were also protective, and this effect was even stronger than for education," Tyas said.

In addition to having high levels of education and solid language skills, nuns who were younger than 90 and didn’t carry certain genetic risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, were also more likely to see a return of their memory.

The bottom line? "It's encouraging that our findings show there are multiple factors that improve your chance of regaining cognitive function after experiencing mild cognitive impairment," Tyas said.

The findings were recently published online in the journal Neurology.

Dr. Kenneth Langa, a dementia researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, called the study "interesting and well-done."

Many people with MCI will get better on their own, said Langa, who was not part of the study.

"These findings are in line with other studies, but this study's careful measurement and long period of follow-up provide additional confidence in the results," he said.

These findings should be taken into account when considering treatment, Langa said.

"The fact that a significant number of individuals with MCI will not go on to dementia, even in the absence of any treatment, increases the risk for overdiagnosis and potential overtreatment among those with MCI," he said.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has information about reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

SOURCES: Suzanne Tyas, PhD, associate professor, public health sciences, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Kenneth Langa, MD, PhD, professor, medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Neurology, Feb. 4, 2022




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net