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Can You Ward Off Alzheimer’s By Playing Games?

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Researchers have found a link between “brain-stimulating activities” and levels of the protein thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In a study published in the Archives of Neurology, researchers at the University of California- Berkley,interviewed 65 healthy people on their reading, writing and game-playing habits throughout their lives, beginning at age 6. Participants then went through a special amyloid-detecting brain scanner.

The results revealed people who did more of those brain-stimulating activities during their lives later had less amyloid, which could mean lower chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Study author Dr. Susan Landau from the University of California-Berkeley said it didn’t matter what types of games were played — sudoku, a crossword puzzle or even ‘Angry Birds’ all count.

Many doctors think Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and memory loss in older adults, is caused by an accumulation of a particular protein called amyloid in the brain. While most normal people have a small amount of the protein, it’s believed that an accumulation of it over a lifetime is a key cause of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Samuel Gandy, associate director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in New York City, told ABCNews that while the study’s findings seem to make sense, more research is needed — so games and other activities still “cannot be considered definitive evidence that can be prescribed to patients.”

But the Alzheimer’s Association touted the study, saying it “contains some valuable new data regarding the possible relationship between modifiable lifestyle risk factors and the brain changes that are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.”

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