New Alzheimer’s Study Uncovers A Surprising Twist

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — We’ve always thought exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your body, but new research shows in some cases it may actually be harmful.

CBS 2’s Dr. Holly Phillips delved into the study and found out what it means for all of us.

Carmen Cox has a good memory and so the 71-year-old is taking classes at a neurological institute to keep her mind sharp.

“I am aware that as you get older, you do lose your memory and I would like to prevent it as much as possible,” Cox said.

Whether it is brain exercises, computer games or doing a crossword puzzle, research has shown that seniors who keep their mind active can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

However, a new study in the journal Neurology indicates once Alzheimer’s hits, those brain exercises might do more harm than good.

Researchers followed two groups of patients and as expected, those who kept mentally sharp were able to delay Alzheimer’s.

But then a surprise — once the disease took hold, patients in the active group saw their brain function deteriorate faster, Phillips reported.

“Once people got dementia it seemed to have the opposite effect. That more mental stimulation seemed to be worse,” Psychiatrist Gary Small said.

Researchers speculate the brain is like a muscle. Exercise can make it stronger, but once it’s compromised, exercise may actually make it worse.

“Mental stimulation sped up brain decline at a certain point,” Small said.

Experts say even if that is true, people who don’t have dementia should continue to exercise their brains.

And with five million Americans currently battling the illness, anything to prevent it from affecting others matters.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Don Joseph Goewey says:

    How can this study be unimportant? It says the strategy for Alzheimer’s of doing brain exercises creates a time bomb. What’s interesting is juxtaposing this study to one done in Sweden that found elders who had cultivated an attitude of peace where 50% less likely to develop dementia. No drug or therapy comes close to a result like that. This study suggests a practical spirituality might be the key to keeping a brain strong. http://mysticcool.com

  2. jimmy says:

    The problem with this article is that the brain is not a muscle. Muscles are damaged by physical activity, mechanical actions. Brain cells don’t move. Their action is entirely chemical/electrical.

  3. asago says:

    This article is an oxymoron. This is what happens when you give grant money to the wrong people.

    1. Abby Normal says:

      Agreed.

  4. dejunked says:

    Maybe you should try some brain exercises, since you didn’t even write anything that makes sense.

  5. gary says:

    I’m not a believer in exercising my brain and it shows

  6. mfellion says:

    Junk articles for junk readers. This study doesn’t do any of the things claimed in the article. Mental exercise just put off the dementia for a long time than the brain was so damaged it could no longer function. Junk scientist confusing cause and effect.

    1. Sam Bolivar says:

      mfellion –

      You claimed, “This study doesn’t do any of the things claimed in the article. ” The study DID apparently reveal that the brain, like a muscle when it’s injured, can be damaged worse after the onset of Alzheimer’s. So it doesn’t seem that your claim is valid.

      As for your claim, “Mental exercise just put off the dementia for a long time than the brain was so damaged it could no longer function. Junk scientist confusing cause and effect.” , is it not YOU who’s confusing C & E? Mental exercises have been shown time and again (by people more expert than yourself) to be GOOD for the brain – and yet you seemingly imply such exercise is somehow bad…

      StrivingForJustice at yahoo dot com

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