How Reading Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

Reading prevents Alzheimer’s and maintains overall brain health. Reading exposes the brain to worlds of characters, landscapes, knowledge, ideas, art, and historical incidents. The science of how reading affects the brain reveals promising results for preserving mental sharpness into older age. 

The Science of How Reading Prevents Alzheimer’s

There is growing evidence suggesting that participating in mentally stimulating activities protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In one study, researchers took neuropathological examinations of the brains of 294 elderly, deceased patients. The results were obvious— patients who participated in more cognitive activity throughout life exhibited signs of less neurological decline. 

Thankfully, reading is a very cognitively challenging and stimulating activity. Around 33% of the brain is involved in analyzing visual information. According to professor and scientist Sabine Kastner, the left hemisphere of the brain is largely responsible for reading and comprehension. The object cortex of our brains, located in this region, recognizes shape characteristics of what we see. When reading, the object cortex creates word banks based on physical characteristics of letters, words, and sentences. Reading prevents Alzheimer’s by keeping these key areas of the brain active. 

Neuro-pathways involved with fact retention, imagination, and factual processing are involved with reading, too, and help prevent cognitive decline. 

All of these components of the brain keep reading possible for most. If, however, you are showing signs of difficulty during reading, it could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Be sure to screen using the BrainTest® app. It is an easy, scientifically validated, and trustworthy way to get screened at home. We also have a web version of BrainTest® where we offer the test as well. 

A Reading Prescription for Prevention of Alzheimer’s

Researchers found that reading increases longevity. A study from Yale analyzed 3635 participants over the age of 50. The participants who read at least 30 minutes a day increased their life expectancy by an average of 23 months. 

Here are some ways to read for at least 30 minutes a day to prevent Alzheimer’s and boost longevity.

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  • Enjoy reading the paper? Use up your 30 minutes of reading for the day by reading the news while having your morning coffee
  • Keep a book by your bedside. Reading every night before bed is an excellent way of remembering to do your 30 minutes of reading. 
  • Research subjects that interest you. The internet has a plethora of resources, allowing us to learn anything. Maybe you feel an impulse to read about historical events, building things, or biographies of people that interest you. You should definitely follow the impulse. Reading about topics that interest you will keep your brain engaged while bettering your chances of maintaining a good reading habit.
  • Just read every day. Do not worry if you cannot manage thirty minutes on a certain day. It is still better to read than not. Reading one article from the news or even a single page from your book is better than nothing. 

Overall, reading is an activity that can be accomplished every day. Reading prevents Alzheimer’s and increases longevity by utilizing and strengthening key areas of the brain. Be sure to create a long-term reading habit for optimal benefits.

Jacob Lopez is a professional health writer currently working alongside holistic doctors and specializing in neuroenhancement, preventative medicine, and longevity science. Jacob is passionate about the connection between spirituality and the brain, as well as the science surrounding neuroplasticity and brain optimization. While earning his BA in English and Writing from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Jacob worked as a journalist for his university's newspaper where he wrote and published print articles surrounding campus mental health.