How Reading Books Helps Fight Alzheimer's Disease

How Reading Books Helps Fight Alzheimer’s Disease


The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disorder that little by little damages a person’s thinking and memory. A person starts to develop Alzheimer’s when amyloid plaque grows on the brain-destroying the connections between nerve cells. Slowly a person begins to forget things, has a hard time absorbing information, and can have trouble with decision making.

Researchers and scientists cannot confirm as to why these changes in the brain would occur. Common risk factors include aging and genetics. Other factors that attribute to developing Alzheimer’s are poor diet, lack of exercise, and cardiovascular problems. As to whether or not Alzheimer’s is preventable is still up for discussion. What doctors and scientists do know are ways to help with cognitive decline. Eating right and exercising regularly are always advised. Other ways to help with cognitive decline are to stimulate the mind with exercises like reading.

A study conducted by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago set out to discover clues of Alzheimer’s. The study followed a group of 294 men and women, most of which were in their 80s. These participants completed a series of exams that tested their memory and thinking throughout the last years of their lives. From the data, researchers collected, they found just how critical reading is for the brain.

One of the study authors, Robert S. Wilson, reported their findings in Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal. Wilson says, “But reading and intellectual activity are a big factor,” he says. “We think reading is a prototype of things that are good for you. The research won’t yet tell you what sort of reading or how much. So what is important is doing intellectual activities you enjoy and can sustain.” The study continued to report that people who were more mentally active later on in life had a 32% lower mental decline than the average. For those that were less mentally active later in life, they saw a decline 48% faster than the average.

A person who begins to develop Alzheimer’s may become moody, have a loss of empathy, and act out unacceptable behavior. Once again, what genre you read can help with these symptoms. The more a person can understand what they are reading, the better they will be able to understand the outside world. That all said, a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia should stick to books like romance or detective novels. A book that takes place in outer space may be too much and hard to understand. 

If reading is one of the best ways to ward off dementia at a later age, then practicing good reading habits and skills now is a good idea. Parents can start the kiddos out young by entering them into reading programs and teaching them how to read and enjoy it. Busy schedules can prevent adults and professionals from reading. It is important to note that reading just a few minutes a day is better than not reading at all.

Our maximizing memory course teaches other techniques to stimulate the brain, help improve your memory, and in turn, will help to delay dementia. Watching someone you care about battle Alzheimer’s is difficult. To find out more about Alzheimer’s and how you can help those dealing with it, please visit The Alzheimer’s Association.

15 Books Bill Gates Thinks You Should Read
Exceptionally Long Sentences in Literature and Why They Work


  • Abraham C. Henry

    I want to develop a habit of reading books. Please help me how to read fast.