I Read to Cheat Old Age – What About You?

It’s the last week of 2015, and at 27gen that means #ReadingWeek!

All week my posts will be about books, reading, a few things connected to the two, plus my Top 15 Favorite books, an annual list published on the last day of the year.

To start the week off, consider this: I read to cheat old age.

It is my habit to make my lunch hour my own personal “Lunch and Learn” activity. As I work from an office in my home, I typically take a break from work to enjoy lunch seated at my kitchen counter, reading a book.

So it’s appropriate that, while reading Curious, by Ian Leslie, I came across this information:

Being epistemically curious is a crucial condition of feeling fulfilled and alive.

Science supports this intuition. Neurologists use the term “cognitive reserve” to describe the brain’s capacity to resist the ravages of old age. For a study published in 2013, a team led by Robert Wilson at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago enrolled three hundred elderly people and tested their thinking and memory skills each year. The participants were also asked about how often they read, wrote, and engaged in other cognitively demanding activity, not just currently, but in childhood and middle age.

Following each participant’s death, his or her brain was examined for evidence of dementia. It was discovered that, after taking into account the physical effects of dementia on their brains, the subjects who made a lifelong habit of a lot of reading and writing slowed their rate of mental decline by a third compared to those who only did an average amount of those things.

In other words, those individuals cheated old age.

 – Ian Leslie, Curious

My lifelong, and ongoing, investment in reading is really an investment in my future.

courtesy photosteve101

courtesy photosteve101

What will you be reading today?

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