Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mental Declines Can Be Reversed, Report Shows

Date:
September 16, 2005
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
As we get beyond retirement age, most of us will not be as mentally sharp as we once were. But a researcher at the University of Alberta says most people have the ability to reverse the mental declines that come with aging.

As we get beyond retirement age, most of us will not be as mentallysharp as we once were. But a researcher at the University of Albertasays most people have the ability to reverse the mental declines thatcome with aging.

Related Articles


"Can we reverse mental declines? Well, for most of us, the answer isyes, and I think that is definitely exciting and encouraging news,"said Dr. Dennis Foth, a professor in the University of Alberta Facultyof Extension and the academic director of the U of A's Certificate inAdult and Continuing Education.

Foth and his research colleague, Dr. Gordon Thompson of the Universityof Saskatchewan, also found in their literature review that mentaldeclines related to aging are not universal (they affect some more thanothers), and they are not pervasive (the declines normally affectdifferent parts of our cognitive capacities to varying degrees).

Foth said mental declines are pathological for about 10 per cent of thegeneral population over the age of 65, and not much can be done at thistime to overcome the debilitating cognitive effects of diseases thataffect the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease. But for the other 90 percent of the population, cognitive decline need not be inevitable.

"A lifetime of good mental habits pays off," Foth said. "People who arecurious at a young age are more likely to be mentally active and stayactive as they age. And we found it is never too late to start. With alittle effort, even people in their 70s and 80s can see dramaticimprovements in their cognitive skills."

There are many different types of classes and mental exercises thatpeople can do to keep their minds vibrant, Foth said, but the trick togetting more people to maintain or even improve their cognitiveabilities is "ecological validity".

Ecologically valid activities are those that people do on regular basisas part of their daily lives, said Foth, whose paper with Thompson ispublished this month in Educational Gerontology.

Examples of "ecologically valid" activities that can improve mentalcapacity include reading, traveling, memorizing poetry, playing cardgames, doing crossword puzzles, learning how to play a musicalinstrument, taking continuing education courses and surfing the Web.

Foth and his colleagues are beginning to study these activities todetermine which ones improve which cognitive skills. He believes thisresearch can lead to the development of learning programs andactivities that can isolate mental declines and reverse them. He addedthat attitude can play an important role in maintaining cognitiveskills throughout life.

"People often describe their memory skills as being far worse than theyactually are, and this type of attitude can start a vicious cycle,"Foth said. "These people won't enroll in a class that might bebeneficial to them because they believe they wouldn't be good at it. Wehave to protect against that."



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Mental Declines Can Be Reversed, Report Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050916073232.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2005, September 16). Mental Declines Can Be Reversed, Report Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050916073232.htm
University of Alberta. "Mental Declines Can Be Reversed, Report Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050916073232.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins