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Brain benefits from cognitive engagement throughout life

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Brain scans have revealed that people with no symptoms of Alzheimer's disease who engaged in mentally-stimulating activities like reading a book, had fewer deposits of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that is the hallmark of the disease. Study leader Dr. William Jagust of the University of California, Berkeley, says these findings point to a new way of thinking about how cognitive engagement throughout life affects the brain.

Jagust:           Things that we thought changed your risk for Alzheimer's disease are actually acting by affecting the process of Alzheimer's disease itself, so it's not so much how the brain responds to the pathology of Alzheimer's disease it seems to be more a matter of how the brain deposits the pathology of Alzheimer's disease.

Narrator:       This study suggests that cognitive therapies could have significant disease-modifying treatment benefits if applied before symptoms appear.

Jagust:           This is making us think that the things that are good for your brain are not just good for general brain health, but they actually may be good because they may have a basic impact on the basic process of Alzheimer's disease.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.