Lifelong learning protects against cognitive decline and dementia

Maintain cognition as we age through education?

There appears to be a clear relationship between education and improved mental health in the elderly. This also applies to people with neurodegenerative diseases.

Education has a protective effect against cognitive decline associated with aging, and it is an important factor that contributes to cognitive reserve, according to the results of a study in which researchers from the University Hospital of Innsbruck participated . The study was published in the Journal of the English Language. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease “has been published.

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To determine if there was a link between education and mental health, the researchers retrospectively looked at data from 1,392 people from 2009 to 2020. All participants had neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. The participants took part in various tests, which were used to assess their mental health. In addition, the experts took into account the educational level of the participants, which was measured on the basis of years of formal education.

Education does not always protect

In general, the more educated did better. However, there are areas where the level of education does not seem to matter in cases of severe dementia, but others seem to be better received in more educated people ”, explains the author of the study. Laura Zamarian from the Medical University of Innsbruck in an interview with the APA News Agency.

Better semantic memory through education?

Especially when it comes to so-called semantic memory. It should be made clear that there is a relationship between education and better mental health. According to the team, this communication includes, for example, understanding language when capturing numerical relationships or complex geometric shapes.

What is semantic memory?

Semantic memory It helps us to understand information and the environment. As we age, we all become more forgetful and less resilient. If the real world knowledge that we have learned is automatic, we have a greater mental capacity for other things, ”explains Zamarian, neuropsychologist.

However, mental stimulation is only one of the pillars of healthy aging. In addition, attention should also be paid to a healthy diet, adequate physical activity and a balanced social life.

Learning is important at any age

“I really think learning is important at any age – we can’t just sit back and relax,” says Zamarian. The research team said the study results “indicate the existence of an interaction between overall mental state and training at different cognitive levels and have strong clinical implications.” This should also be taken into account in the diagnostic evaluation and the conduct of comprehensive neuropsychological analyzes is necessary. In general, the study emphasizes the beneficial but selective effects of a high level of education. (Such as)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been reviewed by healthcare professionals.


  • Laura Zamarian, Elfreddy Karner, Thomas Bodner, Atby Jamshidian, Margaret Delazer: The Differential Impact of Education on Cognitive Performance in Neuropathic Patients with Progressive Cognitive Decline, in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (veröffentlicht Volume 80, Number 4, Pages 1491-1501, 2021) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Journal
  • Austrian News Agency: The Innsbruck Study: Lifelong Learning Positive Impacts on Dementia (published May 30, 2021), What or What

important note:
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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