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Does Reading Reduce Cognitive Decline?

Reading as a cognitive activity builds cognitive reserve and helps reduce the rate of cognitive decline and/or delay the onset of dementia

Bhavin Jankharia
4 min read
Does Reading Reduce Cognitive Decline?
Reading as a cognitive activity builds cognitive reserve and helps reduce the rate of cognitive decline and/or delay the onset of dementia

The last time I wrote about cognitive decline, I introduced the term “cognitive reserve” and quoted,

“Individuals with increased cognitive reserve tend to be more highly educated, possess higher IQs, reach higher occupational attainment, and are involved in a diverse range of leisurely activities.” [1].

One question that keeps coming up is whether therefore as we age, apart from physical activity, do we need to keep the brain engaged and does that help reduce the rate of  cognitive decline.  This is what I wrote at the end of the same article that was based on the Nun study [2].

“Even if your brain is affected by pathologic processes that cause dementia and cognitive loss, a high level of education coupled with life-long learning will allow you to build significant cognitive reserve to help prevent the occurrence of clinical dementia and/or reduce the amount of significant cognitive loss if it does occur. Irrespective of your education level, it is a good idea therefore to start structured learning and to cultivate a wide range of leisure activities and hobbies that involve reading and learning and then try and implement that knowledge gained, in the best possible way.”

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