Intellectual Activity May Delay Onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia Interview with:

Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota

Dr. Prashanthi Vemuri

Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Vemuri: Lifetime Intellectual enrichment has been found to delay the symptoms of dementia but the impact on brain changes due to Alzheimer’s disease has been poorly understood. In this study we studied the impact of lifetime intellectual enrichment (education, occupation, and midlife cognitive activities) on the brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease. We obtained serial imaging on 393 individuals from a population based sample. We found that in majority of the individuals, there were minimal effects of intellectual enrichment on brain changes due to Alzheimer’s disease. However in those with higher genetic risk of Alzheimer’s, lifetime intellectual enrichment had a protective effect on the brain.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Vemuri: Though intellectual enrichment may not be able to slow down the brain changes due to Alzheimer’s disease, it has a significant impact in delaying the onset of dementia.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Vemuri: Keeping mentally active is important to delay symptoms of dementia. Also education level of the cohort had a significant impact on brain changes.


Prashanthi Vemuri, Timothy G. Lesnick, Scott A. Przybelski, David S. Knopman, Mary Machulda, Val J. Lowe, Michelle M. Mielke, Rosebud O. Roberts, Jeffrey L. Gunter, Matthew L. Senjem, Yonas E. Geda, Walter A. Rocca, Ronald C. Petersen, and Clifford R. Jack, Jr. Effect of intellectual enrichment on AD biomarker trajectories: Longitudinal imaging study.
Neurology, February 24, 2016 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002490

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Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD (2016). Intellectual Activity May Delay Onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia 

Last Updated on February 25, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD