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New Research Answers If Problem-Solving Can Fend Off Mental Decline

Mounting evidence suggests that keeping the brain active and engaged can help slow cognitive decline that comes with aging. As we climb the age ladder, it is common that our body does not remain as supple as it does in times of our youth.

Age-related mental decline is also common. What’s more, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease can further impact our cognitive health, negatively affecting it. Research has always advocated that challenging your cognitive state’s status quo can help prevent decline.

However, new research digs deeper into this and questions if keeping mentally agile can actually reduce the rate at which cognitive decline occurs. Here is more on the study:

What Did the Study Aim to Explain?

The latest study has been conducted by the University of Aberdeen and the National Health Service (NHS) Grampian in Aberdeen in the UK. Dr. Roget Staff, the head of medical physics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, led the study.

The researchers aimed to re-examine the claim made concerning the role that actively engaging the brain plays in improving cognitive well-bring during seniorhood. A participant pool of 498 people was taken and their data was analyzed. They took the Moray House Test when they were all 11 years of age as part of the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey.

The team gathered this information before the study commenced. The participants provided information on their mental abilities and educational history as well. On top of that, the participants agreed to taking additional tests for unearthing their mental processing speeds, assessing memory, and other measurements related to cognitive function.

These tests included auditory-verbal learning tests, digit symptoms, substitution tests, and more.

The Findings of the Study

The end of the study concluded that problem-solving does not actually prevent any mental decline. The researchers wrote, “These results indicate that engagement in problem-solving does not protect an individual from decline, but imparts a higher starting point from which decline is observed and offsets the point at which impairment becomes significant.”

The plus, however, is that engaging in problem-solving activities such as solving puzzles can help enhance cognitive skills throughout one’s life. Besides, an interesting factor that emerged from the study was that the personality had a role to play in improving the brain health of an individual.

This also sets the base for further study as researchers expressed their interest in digging out how mental effort and personality are related and how their combined influence affects cognitive performance.

Summing up – How to Improve One’s Brain Health?

The best that you do is to maintain your mental well-being as you move up the age ladder. To this end, the following pointers are helpful:

  • Increase your physical activity
  • Quit smoking if you smoke
  • Eat brain healthy foods
  • Avoid a diet that is high in sugar
  • Sleep well
  • Lessen stress
  • Try to protect yourself from falls and head injuries
  • Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink
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