According to a recent study from Columbia University, there are connections between low literacy and dementia in older adults. Published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers studied 983 adults, 65 years or older, with four or less years of schooling to explore the relationship between literacy and dementia.
When testing the baseline measurements of dementia, researchers found that those who had low literacy skills were three times as likely to have dementia as those who were literate. Researchers also found that the low literate participants who did not have dementia were twice as likely to develop it.
Low literate adults were shown to have weaker cognition than adults who were literate. These weaker cognitive functions place low literate adults closer to the starting point of dementia because their cognition has a shorter journey of decline.
"Being able to read and write allows people to engage in more activities that use the brain, like reading newspapers and helping children and grandchildren with homework. Previous research has shown some activities may reduce the risk of dementia,” said Jennifer J. Manly of Columbia University. “Our new study provides more evidence that reading and writing may be important factors in helping maintain a healthy brain.”
By providing adults with opportunities to increase their literacy skills, it may protect their brain in the future. Strength lies with education, literacy, and understanding.