Writing and idea generation linked to lower Alzheimer’s risk

This is the kind of news that makes me happy. A study shows a significant relationship between creative expression/linguistic ability early in life to the development of Alzheimer’s later in life. There test subjects were nuns who had written autobiographies in their earlier years.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=poor-linguistic-ability-may-indicat-10-08-22

Here’s a fascinating excerpt:

“Here is what scientists found:   The number of ideas expressed in those autobiographies had a inverse association with the severity of dementia later in life. For instance in the sentence, “I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on May 24, 1913 and was baptized in a church,” has seven ideas according to the researchers. Phrases like “I was born” and “I was baptized in church” all count toward what they call a measurement of “idea density.”

They found a strong association between those whose autobiographies had low idea density and presence of the Alzheimer-related tangles in the frontal, temporal or parietal lobe of the brain.  “

I love this – that the more “dense” and rich the ideas you use to express yourself are, the less risk of Alzheimers you seem to have.

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4 thoughts on “Writing and idea generation linked to lower Alzheimer’s risk

  1. That’s an interesting question. I would assume it depends on how deeply you’re willing to dive into those abstract thought(s).

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