Alzheimer’s Delayed by Higher Education?

Monday, September 21, 2015 Stef dela Cruz 0 Comments

A high level of education keeps the mind young and fresh – it delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and reduces symptoms of memory impairment, suggests a study published in Neurology last 2008.

Alzheimer's Disease

Education sheds new light on Alzheimer’s disease: according to the “cognitive reserve theory”, in people with Alzheimer’s disease, those of high educational attainment exhibit better mental performance.

Dr. Valentina Garibotto spearheaded the study which was done in Vita-Salute San Raffaele University. She shared a theory on the value of education in the development of an adequate mental reserve, in case dementia sets in later in life.

Cognitive Reserve Theory

Dr. Garibotto’s research revealed that both education and a mentally-challenging job help create a buffer against dementia. A person who has a higher educational attainment tends to exercise his brain more and creates a “cognitive reserve” that can be tapped when dementia occurs. Below is more information on the cognitive reserve theory and Garibotto’s research.

Positron-emission tomography scans proved that the brain of an educated person can withstand more tissue damage before signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia start to manifest.

The author of the study explained that education may help strengthen a person’s mental capacities. Alternately, genetic factors that urged a person to seek higher education may have contributed to his higher brain reserve. Either way, high educational attainment is linked to a beneficial delay in Alzheimer’s disease.

Aside from education, career is also an important factor that increases brain reserve. A job that requires thorough mental exercise has the same effect on cognitive reserve as a high level of education.

Alzheimer’s Disease in the Philippines

Several societies in the Philippines provide support to people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; these include the Alzheimer’s Disease Association of the Philippines (ADAP) and the Dementia Society of the Philippines (DSP).

ADAP, composed of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their relatives, offer educational programs and other services to improve the quality of life of affected patients as well as family members who take care of them.

On the other hand, DSP, comprised of health professionals, aims to help patients with dementia through health care provision, research, and education of health care personnel.

Coming up in the next article: 5 things you should know about Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, what is the cure for Alzheimer’s disease? In the meantime, keep reading and studying, even when you’re done with school! And do keep in touch with me on Twitter, will you?

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!