David Knopman from Mayo Clinic: Finding Ways to Prevent Dementia Later in Life

MAY 20, 2016
MD Magazine Staff


As the population ages one of the biggest concerns for people is developing various forms of dementia. What can be do to help these patients is the topic of much debate.

David S. Knopman, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, recently presented on the topic of “Does mentally stimulating activity protect against dementia,” and discussed the pro side during the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Vancouver.

Knopman said he had some evidence that it does, but remained skeptic. He said the notion that it does is a popular topic, but, “I think the public needs to be properly informed on the strength of the evidence and what’s behind it,” Knopman said.

With regard to patient care, Knopman said that late-life mentally stimulating activity is a health promoting activity, often involving activities they had been doing all this time anyway. He said also that those that do mental health activities are often not doing them in isolation, meaning these people are likely engaging in other healthy activities such as physical exercise and not smoking, for example.

Knopman said that as a result of this notion, there has been a lot of for-profit online “allegedly cognitive stimulating” games, and that their use is “questionable.”

He said the point at which dementia risk starts to rise is 65-years-old. With so many people living past that age now, many people might spend half their lives beyond their employment years, and thus “remaining mentally active at that age is definitely something those people need to do.”



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