Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have found that a lifetime of daily intellectual stimulation could help prevent the formation of a destructive protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, which was published in the Archives of Neurology, revealed that people with no symptoms of Alzheimer’s who engaged in mentally stimulating activities throughout their lives had fewer deposits of beta-amyloid in their brains.

“These findings point to a new way of thinking about how cognitive engagement throughout life affects the brain,” said the study’s principal investigator Dr. William Jagust. “Rather than simply providing resistance to Alzheimer’s, brain- stimulating activities may affect a primary pathological process in the disease. This suggests that cognitive therapies could have significant disease-modifying treatment benefits if applied early enough, before symptoms appear.”