The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently published a study stating that one of the keys to fighting dementia is cognitive training. Other helpful activities included physical exercise and blood pressure control. While promising, the researchers also stated that more studies needed to be done to pinpoint if their assumption was correct.
Dementia represents many types of brain diseases that can cause long-term effects and eventually lead to death. Common symptoms of dementia to include emotional and language problems and challenges in motivation. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of dementia making up half to 70 percent of cases. Parkinson’s, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia are also included. There is currently no known cure for it. Cognitive training theorizes that by regularly exercising the brain, a person’s cognitive functions can be maintained or improved. For now, there is no evidence that this is true.
International Business Times said that the report’s researchers need “additional research” to understand how exercise, blood pressure control, and cognitive training affect dementia. Alan I. Leshner, the chair of the committee and CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said that in the next few years more studies would involve the prevention of dementia. He went on to say that the public needed to know the results to inform their own decisions to “maintain brain health with ageing.”
The three keys to preventing dementia include cognitive training, blood pressure management, and exercise. Cognitive training, according to the report, helped to enhance a person’s “reasoning and problem solving, memory, and speed of processing.” Researchers hope that with cognitive training, it will slow dementia and other brain diseases. Blood pressure control and exercise also delays dementia, according to the International Business Times. “What’s good for the heart is good for your brain,” said Maree McCabe, the chief executive officer for Alzheimer’s Australia. She added that exercise and increased the hippocampus volume, an area of the brain where Alzheimer’s typically begins.
Cognitive training, according to a press release from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has been the subject of debate for the past 15 years. While cognitive training can “improve performance on a trained task,” researchers are still debating if it can stick long-term. Results from several studies on the subject have been “mixed.” Tech Times reported that cognitive training could be “successful” it remains “unclear and inconclusive” in the “long-term.”
By Cheryl Werber