Sunday, August 8, 2010

Higher education keeps dementia at bay

Individuals who study longer can adapt to the changes associating dementia and are therefore less likely to present the symptoms of the mind robbing disease.

Previous studies have reported that the more time spent in education, the lower would be one's risk of developing dementia in the long run.

According to the study published in Brain, the dementia-related changes are similar in individuals with and without higher educations; those who are engaged in education for longer time, however, are able to compensate for these changes.

“Education in early life appears to enable some people to cope with a lot of changes in their brain before showing dementia symptoms,” said Hannah Keage, a co-author of the study, adding that educated individuals can find ways to manage or hide their disabilities. Each extra year spent on education is associated with an 11 percent reduction in the risk of manifesting the mind robbing disease, the study found.

"This study provides strong support for investment in early life factors which should have an impact on society and the whole lifespan,” said lead researcher Professor Carol Brayne, adding that policy makers should shift their focus to the importance of resource allocation between health and education.