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A new study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has found that by keeping the brain mentally active, through reading or writing, it may protect the brain in old age.

Dr Robert Wilson, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who led the study, said the research suggested exercising the brain across a lifetime was important for brain health in old age.

He told BBC News: “The brain that we have in old age depends in part on what we habitually ask it to do in life.

“What you do during your lifetime has a great impact on the likelihood these age-related diseases are going to be expressed.”

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