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Will Challenging Yourself Intellectually Help Offset Dementia?

KYW Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It is a debate that goes back and forth and it seems each and every study has a different conclusion.

The question is whether challenging your self intellectually helps offset dementia including Alzheimer's.

The latest study from the Mayo Clinic has found that in a general elderly population without dementia, remaining intellectually engaged during middle age did not slow the rate of neurodegenerative changes leading to Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers studied those who continued to learn at midlife by using a computer, reading books and magazines, and playing games and compared them with similar participants with less cognitively active lifestyles.  All that being said the overwhelming evidence from the majority of studies supports remaining intellectually stimulated. It makes sense—there is really not a downside to this.

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