It's well known that older people who stay mentally active are more resistant to cognitive decline and dementia, and many scientific studies have backed up this "use it or lose it" hypothesis. (New Scientist, 17 December 2005, p 32)

Multiple studies have shown that brain activity helps new connections to form. It turns out that brain activity is needed for selecting which synapses should be eliminated, as well. The findings have implications for conditions in which these mechanisms may have gone awry (e.g., autism, schizophrenia, and perhaps Alzheimer's). Almost daily another piece of research confirms how. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, pp 135-136)

Research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has shown that aerobic exercises, such as running, stimulates the growth of new brain cells. It also improves memory and the ability to learn. (Source)

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