NYC Healthcare News

Neuroscientist says spatial strategies can reduce risk of dementia

January 23, 2016

When we find our way in the world, we rely on one of two strategies. One is spatial strategy, in which we build cognitive maps using relationships between landmarks to help us determine where we are but also help us plan where we want to go (for instance, you will memorize the spatial relationship between the market, home and school such that you can take shortcuts when going to novel destinations). The other one is a stimulus-response strategy, which is kind of an auto-pilot mode (after some repetition, you make a series of right and left turns out of habit like going to work every day using the same route. Sometimes you get there out of habit without knowing what you saw on the way). When you use a GPS, you don't necessarily use your spatial memory.

Significant results

"These results are in agreement with the literature showing that the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease involve problems with spatial orientation as well as the literature that shows that decreased volume in the hippocampus is a risk factor for conversion from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease." adds Bohbot.