Education fights Alzheimers disease?

Professor Donna Wilcock discusses research that correlates higher education levels with Alzheimer's disease prevention. This finding has not been fully supported.

There has been some epidemiological evidence. When I say epidemiological, what I mean is looking back over a patient’s history once they have the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. You take a long history of what their educational level is, what drugs they’ve been on during their life and you can pull apart different risk factors to try and see if there is an association between having the disease and something else they’ve done in their life. If you do that, you do see some trend for educational level being beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. This comes down to the old story of the more you have, the more you have to lose before you see any impact on memory. Someone with a PhD, for instance, supposedly has a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than somebody who didn’t graduate high school. I think the more common thinking now is not so much just your educational level, but your continuing education through life. If you’re an avid reader, if you are a teacher that has to keep up on things throughout life, you seem to be somewhat protected from Alzheimer’s disease. Now, that’s not saying that you’re not going to get it, this is really just trending. Some studies really do show it well and other studies don’t show an affect. It’s not a bad thing to have an education, but at the same time, I can’t say for sure that it prevents Alzheimer’s disease.

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