The rich vocabulary protects against dumbing down

Can we answer the question when does old age begin? Most likely, when a person begins to think about her. And as soon as one thinks about it, it really comes. But one should not panic.

There are many ways in which one can keep one’s body and mind in excellent shape despite one’s advanced age. One of these waysis leading a healthy lifestyle, which is talked about a lot, but so few people stick to it.

However, the issue of aging should be taken very seriously. Some people have been found to develop mild cognitive impairment as they age. Most health experts believe that this is an intermediate stage between normal abilities to absorb, remember and analyze information and dementia.

Moderate cognitive impairments are defined as cognitive disorders where brain functions are impaired beyond normal, but do not limit a person’s daily activities. Symptoms are manifested by unusual forgetfulness and partial loss of existing habits.

Scientists from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain investigated the way in which the brain compensates for the mild cognitive impairment characteristic of aging. They found that the brain uses its cognitive reserve, that is, information stored over the years, to compensate for memory loss.

“Cognitive or cognitive reserve” is the name scientists have given to the brain’s ability to compensate for the loss of some of its functions. This reserve cannot be quantified. Instead, it is assessed through indicators believed to increase its capacity.

Scientists have found that usinga larger vocabulary, that is, using a greater number of words in communication, strengthens the brain’s ability to compensate for its lost functions.

One of the authors of the study, published in the journal “Yearbook of Psychology”, points out that the study focused on the volume of vocabulary, since it is this that is considered an indicator of crystallized intelligence / the use of previously acquired intellectual skills/. And in fact, the purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between the vocabulary and the cognitive reserve.

326 people over the age of 50 took part in the study. 223 of them were in excellent health, and the remaining 104 had mild cognitive impairment.

The scientists then measured the subject level of their vocabulary, along with other indicators such as the length of their education, the complexity of their work, and their reading habits.

The scientists also analyzed the scores the participants received on various language tests. Subsequently, with a regression analysis, the researchers established the relationship between the volume of the vocabulary and the probability of developing a cognitive disorder.

The results showed that mild cognitive impairment was characteristic of the participants who scored lower on the language test.

And based on this, scientists conclude that a larger vocabulary protects against cognitive impairment because it helps to increase the cognitive reserve in the brain.

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