It's well known that physical exercise is good for the brain but what about when age takes away the ability to exercise as much? Can mental exercise close the gap?
Yes, say researchers at Yale. For the young and middle-aged, exercise is key but for older people either mental of physical enrichment is good.
The Yale neuroscientists randomly assigned 160 female mice who were young, middle-aged and old adults (about 3, 15, or 21 months old) to either an experimental (treatment) condition or a control group. Treatment conditions included cages where mice could exercise on running wheels, cages where they could play with toys, or cages with both for complex enrichment. The control mice cages were unadorned.