A senior living an active lifestyle that consists of a lot of new mental challenges, such as word games, may end up delaying his or her chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. This is true even if older adults are at higher risk for the disease than normal, according to a new study published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology.
Although the human brain is known to lose 5 to 10 percent of its weight from age 20 to 90, there are some ways that one can ensure that the plasticity of the organ - which is crucial to continued learning, cognition and memory function - is maintained.
"Brain plasticity refers to the brain's remarkable ability to change and reorganize itself.
It was long thought that brain plasticity declined with age, however, our study demonstrates that this is not the case, even in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Sylvie Belleville said.
She and her colleagues found that, if seniors participate in specific memory games, they are more likely to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Experts suggest that older adults should also work to eat healthier and start exercising during retirement living, because these are two other major factors in staying mentally sharp.