Older adults must remain mentally active if they are to fight dementia, according to a study featured in TIME.

For six years, researchers surveyed 300 participants (half of whom developed mild cognitive impairement) about how often they participated in mentally stimulating activities.

The scientists then examined the brains of several volunteers who had died, and they discovered that those who were active in their older years had a slower cognitive decline rate of 32 percent. However, those with little mental stimulus had a faster decline rate of 48 percent.

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Interestingly, mental activity even as far back as childhood may also have a great effect on slowing down dementia. Researchers hypothesize that the more consistently one learns, the less likely he or she may develop cognitive impairment later in life.

Researchers recommend reading, writing, doing puzzles, and playing games to keep the mind active. Even logging on to Facebook reportedly helps improve cognitive function!

(Photo by Jasondenys via Flickr Creative Commons)

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