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Adult education can lower dementia risk in middle-aged people: Study

Adult education can lower dementia risk in middle-aged people: Study

Tokyo: Researchers from Japan’s Tohoku University have found that adult education reduces the risk of developing dementia by 19 percent for middle-aged and elderly people.

Their study results also showed that the individuals who took part in adult education classes kept up their fluid intelligence and non-verbal reasoning performance better than peers who did not.

However, adult education did not affect the preservation of visuospatial memory or reaction time, said Hikaru Takeuchi, first author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Takeuchi and his co-author Dr. Ryuta Kawashima scanned data from the UK Biobank, which has the genetic, health, and medical details of around 500,000 volunteers, of whom 2,82,421 participants were analysed for this study.

They had been enrolled between 2006 and 2010, when between 40 and 69 years old. On average, they had been monitored for seven years by the time of the present study.

The study showed that 1.1 percent of participants in the sample developed dementia over the study's time window and the participants who were taking part in adult education at enrollment had a 19 percent lower risk of developing dementia within five years than participants who did not.

Importantly, results were similar when people with a history of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, or mental illness were excluded. This indicates that the observed lower risk was not solely attributable to participants’ inability to continue their adult education because of the symptoms of these well-known co-morbidities.

"One possibility is that engaging in intellectual activities has positive results on the nervous system, which in turn may prevent dementia. But ours is an observational longitudinal study, so if a direct causal relationship exists between adult education and a lower risk of dementia, it could be in either direction," said Kawashima.

With IANS inputs

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TAGS:DementiaAdult educationfluid intelligence
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