Vary Brain Activity to Stay Lucid
Switching it up with regard to how you use your gray matter may reduce your risk of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer's. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic created an atlas of 68 functional regions of the brain, which correspond to the cities on the road map.This analysis revealed that there are many "roads" that can be used to exchange information in the brain, and that the brain uses different roads at different times. The question the researchers set out to answer was whether or not Alzheimer's patients use this map and these roads in a different way than their healthy peers.
To find out, the team use MRI scans to compare brain usage patterns of Alzheimer's patients with those of cognitively normal people. What the investigators learned was that the diseased subjects "tended to spend more time using some roads and less time using other roads, biasing one over the other."
The findings were presented in July 2012 at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Vancouver and published online in journal PLoS ONE. Lead author David T. Jones MD said, "Diversifying the mental space that you explore may actually decrease your risk for Alzheimer's."
Jones and his team suggest exercise, education, and social contacts as pursuits that may help balance activity in the brain.