News / 

Leisure Exercise of Brain May Ward Off Alzheimer's

Save Story

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Participation in a variety of leisure activities during early and middle adult years appears to lower a risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in a recent issue of The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.

`The idea that mental activity is good for the brain is not unlike the idea ofuse it or lose it' when it comes to keeping the body fit,'' says Ross Andel of the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies, an author of the study.

Using data from the Swedish Twins Registry, researchers analyzed information on same-sex twins born between 1886 and 1925 who filled out questionnaires in the 1960s and participated in clinical follow-ups in the '80s and '90s. The follow-ups included testing for dementia.

In an analysis of 107 twin pairs, where one twin was diagnosed with some type of cognitive impairment while the other was cognitively intact, greater participation in leisure activities was found to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

When researchers compared data on men and women directly, they did not find significant differences. However, intellectual cultural activity was more protective for women than for men, a discovery that Andel said was unexpected.

He speculates that men in the generation studied might have had occupations that provided intellectual-cultural activity, whereas women had to become intellectually involved through social participation. Leisure activities that the twins reported in the 1960s - then ages 42-68 - were reading, social visits, theater- and movie-going, club and organization participation, gardening and other outdoor activities, and playing sports.


(The Cox web site is at )

c.2003 Cox News Service

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast