There was a time when reading books and writing letters were commonplace. If you did those activities when you were younger, start doing them again.

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The American Academy of Neurology says that people who exercise their brain from childhood through old age by reading and writing have a slower rate of memory decline compared to those who rarely do mentally stimulating activities or stop doing them during their lifetime. The research, done by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, was published in the academy's medical journal Neurology last month.

Researchers found that the rate of memory decline in those who continued to read books and write late in their lives was 32 percent less than those who stopped participating in stimulating mental activities as they got older.