According to a research project at the University of Santiago de Compostela, having a strong vocabulary may help keep the brain from losing some of its cognitive function. The term the researchers use is Cognitive Reserve which is the brains ability to make up for the loss of its functions.
The study had over 300 hundred participants over the age of 50. 222 of these individuals were healthy while the other 104 had mild cognitive issues. Other measures were also factored in such as levels of schooling and what types of jobs the individuals had.
The results of the study showed that there was lower cognitive impairment when individuals had a better vocabulary. Does this mean that we should start memorizing words from the dictionary? I feel that our lifestyle today can allow us to get away with not exercising our brains very much the same way we can also avoid exercising our bodies. It’s important that we are aware that this is happening. If you are concerned about maintaining your brain health, I would say read book, do a crossword puzzle or even better take a college course. The key takeaway here is to find ways to stay actively mentally as well as physically.
The study was published in the journal Anales de Psicología (Annals of Psychology).
If you would like a more hands-on approach to maintaining your overall health, you can always call my office for an appointment.
Dr. Shah, MD