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Choosing to learn slows Alzheimer's

WALTHAM, Mass., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Attending lectures, reading, doing word games and working mental puzzles may help slow Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., say doing these activities may provide the protection from memory decline and dementia associated with having a college degree.

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"The lifelong benefits of higher education for memory in later life are quite impressive, but we do not clearly understand how and why these effects last so long," lead author Margie Lachman said in a statement.

"Among individuals with low education, those who engaged in reading, writing, attending lectures, doing word games or puzzles once or week or more had memory scores similar to people with more education."

For the large national study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Lachman and colleagues assessed 3,343 men and women between the ages of 32-84 with a mean age of 56 years for verbal memory and executive function. Forty percent of the participants had four years of college or more.

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