Why (Hitting the Book) Reading is an Excellent Choice for Brain Health ~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP

Why (Hitting the Book) Reading is an Excellent Choice for Brain Health
There is no doubt that reading a good book is a rewarding experience, not only for avid readers but also for casual ones. For some, reading is satisfying and relaxing, while for others, it’s enjoyable and even memorable when engrossed in a page-turner that’s impossible to put down.

Recent evidence strongly suggests that reading, even for leisure, is an excellent tool for maintaining good brain health and strengthening memory skills compared to non-readers. While the original findings relate to older adults, it’s easily applicable to younger adults as well. As I always say, ‘It’s never too early and never too late’ to engage in this activity.

With age, it’s ‘normal’ for individuals to experience some cognitive decline, though fortunately, in most cases, it won’t develop into dementia like Alzheimer‚Äôs disease. However, reading even once or twice a week (any type of reading, from books to magazines) can reduce the risk and slow the speed of this ‘physiological’ cognitive decline.

Reading also offers additional benefits:

1. Lower stress levels: Engaging in a story can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety levels.

2. Promote well-being and longevity: Research suggests that individuals who read for about 3-4 hours per week live almost two years longer on average compared to those who don’t.

3. Reduce the risk of Alzheimer‚Äôs disease: Regular reading has been linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer‚Äôs disease and related dementias, slowing the rate of cognitive decline and memory impairments. While some older adults may face age-related challenges like vision issues when picking up a book, this shouldn’t deter anyone. Many publishers offer large-print publications, and e-readers allow users to adjust the font size for a better reading experience.

Remember, whether you’re a regular or enthusiastic reader, it’s never too late to pick up a book, newspaper, or magazine and enjoy its tremendous benefits. Let’s show some love not only to our bodies but also to our minds by embracing the joy of reading!

Check out the recent blog: “WHAT IS FRAILTY? ~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP”

Domenico Praticò, MD, is the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer’s Research, Professor and Director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, and Professor of Pharmacology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

You can find out more information on Dr. Domenico Pratico’s research papers here.

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