A recent study published in the journal Neurology shows that high levels of mental activity may reduce some of the cognitive deficits characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The study found that people with a mentally active lifestyle had high scores on learning and memory tests regardless of the amount of brain damage they had. Those with less mentally enriching lifestyles learned new information slower, even if they had moderate levels of brain damage. This suggests that a mentally enriching lifestyle reduces the negative effect of multiple sclerosis on cognitive functioning.
These findings provide further evidence for the idea of a “cognitive reserve” which serves as a buffer against memory deficits caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A groundbreaking study on cognitive reserves found that nuns with stronger language skills early in life were less likely to develop dementia later on, even when their brains showed physical signs indicating memory loss.
Peter A. Arnett, PhD, of Penn State University, wrote in an editorial accompanying the article on multiple sclerosis, “…it seems reasonable to encourage people with MS to get involved in activities that might improve their cognitive reserve”. One of the activities is training with mentally stimulating BrainHQ exercises.