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Major New Report Establishes Effective Methods of Enhancing and Preserving Brain Power as We Age
Date:6/23/2009

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Association for Psychological Science:

In 1900, only 4.1 percent of U.S. citizens were older than 65; in 2000 that number had jumped to 12.6 percent; and by the year 2030, 20 percent of our population could be in that category.

Cognitive decline was long seen as an inevitable consequence of aging, but recent years have seen a surge of interest in activities and products touted to forestall this outcome. What is the truth? Is decline inevitable, or is there a possibility of retaining our faculties if we exercise them? And which kinds of exercises and products are effective, and which are merely hype?

According to the most rigorous and comprehensive review of the scientific findings ever, there is clear evidence that cognitive-enrichment activities -- including intellectually stimulating pursuits, social engagement, and especially physical exercise -- may indeed preserve or enhance various aspects of cognitive functioning as we age. The authors of the report will discuss the findings at a press conference in Washington, DC on June 24.

In this report, the researchers point to recent studies confirming that engaging in intellectually stimulating pursuits have substantial benefits for older adults. One such study shows that every day activities, such as reading, can indeed help. Four thousand old people were recruited for a study and rated their frequency of participation in seven cognitive activities (e.g. reading magazines). The researchers conducted in-home interviews and tested the participants' cognitive function for nearly 6 years. Those who engaged in more frequent cognitive activity experienced a reduced rate of cognitive decline.

Your brain also stays in better shape if you work out. The authors of this report point to a recent study looking at 5,925 women over the age of 65. Resea
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SOURCE Association for Psychological Science
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