Animal studies have shown that mental stimulation may help protect the brain by:
- Decreasing the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, such as increases in certain proteins (plaques and tangles)
- Supporting new nerve cell growth
- Prompting communication between nerve cells
By keeping your brain active with brain exercises or other engagement, you may help build up a reserve of brain cells and connections. You might even grow new brain cells. This is one explanation for the link between Alzheimer’s and lower levels of education. Experts think that extra stimulation from education may protect the brain by strengthening brain cell connections.
Of course, neither education nor brain exercises provide an insurance policy against Alzheimer’s. But they may help delay the onset of symptoms, prolonging a higher quality of life. And that could be worth a whole lot.