Challenging brain best way to avoid Alzheimer's

January 24, 2012 2:09:34 PM PST
Keeping yourself safe from Alzheimer's may take a lifelong commitment.

We've been hearing for some time that challenging the brain can help ward off Alzheimer's. Now a small but intriguing study suggests starting crossword puzzles later in life won't help.

The research in the Archives of Neurology finds people who stay mentally engaged early in childhood and remain so through their lives actually develop fewer amyloid plaques. These are the protein deposits linked to Alzheimer's.

Other studies suggested mental activity later on helped keep people sharp even if the plaques had already formed. This latest research claims that reading, writing and playing games from early on can prevent many of these plaques from forming at all.