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Learning to read lowers risk of dementia

New research has highlighted that those who never learn to read or write may have a three times greater risk of developing dementia

15 Nov 2019 by Selina Powell

A new study has investigated the connection between literacy and someone’s risk of developing dementia.

The research, which was published in Neurology, reinforces the concept that reading and writing are important factors in helping an individual to maintain a healthy brain.

Scientists completed a survey of 983 people with an average age of 77. Within the survey group, there were 237 people who were illiterate and 746 who were literate.

At the beginning of the study, 35% of illiterate participants and 18% of literate participants had dementia.

This had increased by the end of the study four years later to 48% and 28% respectively.

Dr Jennifer Manly, from Colombia University, highlighted that the research suggests learning to read may strengthen the brain in ways that help to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

“Even if they only have a few years of education, people who learn to read and write may have lifelong advantages over people who never learn these skills,” she emphasised.

Image credit: Pexels/Pixabay

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