By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Graduating from college may not protect you from dementia. That’s according to a new study in the journal Neurology.

Previous research suggested that spending more time in school might protect a person from dementia by creating a cognitive buffer against mental decline, but researchers at Rush University looked at almost 3,000 people and found that while having a higher level of education was associated with more advanced thinking and memory skills in general, it did not affect when a person developed dementia or how quickly it progressed.

That said, they say formal education usually stops long before old age so late-life activities that involve thinking and memory skills may still have a protective effect.

Experts recommend people continue to engage in intellectually stimulating and challenging activities as they age, like learning a new language, staying socially active and having a purpose in life.

Dr. Mallika Marshall