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'Brain exercise' delays memory loss in dementia

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Exercising the brain may delay the start of memory loss in people who develop dementia, latest study results suggest.

US researchers - who studied 488 older people - found that undertaking intellectually stimulating leisure activities, such as crosswords or playing cards, could help delay the start of memory decline.

No matter what type of education was undertaken earlier in life, intellectually stimulating activities helped to build up ‘cognitive reserve’ in the study participants, the researchers said online in the journal Neurology.

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: ‘This study adds to the ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis that we can reap the benefits of stimulating our minds regularly, prehaps by doing crosswords, playing chess or adding up the shopping before getting to the till.’

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