Social activities can reverse brain atrophy: Study

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Johns Hopkins researchers say meaningful organized social activities could stop, and in males actually reverse, declines in volume in regions of the brain vulnerable to dementia.

The study was published online Tuesday in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

Observers note the study draws a direct correlation between brain volume and the reversal of a type of cognitive decline linked to increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. A total of 111 study subjects in their late 60s were recruited from the Baltimore Experience Corps, an organization through which retired people share their knowledge and skills in public schools.

Over a period of two years, study subjects were given various tests for memory. MRIs of their brains were taken at initial enrollment and at 12 and 24 months. Men in the study showed a 0.7% to 1.6% increase in brain volumes, according to researchers. Those in the control group, meanwhile, experienced 0.8% percent to 2% increases in brain tissue atrophy.