Washington D.C.: According to a recent study, seniors who use computers and participate in social activities have reduced risk of developing age-related declines in memory and thinking.
"The results show the importance of keeping the mind active as we age," said study author Janina Krell-Roesch. "While this study only shows association, not cause and effect, as people age, they may want to consider participating in activities like these because they may keep a mind healthier, longer."
For the study, researchers followed 1,929 people, age 70 and older, who were part of the larger Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Rochester, Minn. The participants had normal memory and thinking abilities at recruitment to the study. They were then followed for an average of four years until they developed mild cognitive impairment or remained impairment-free.
The study found that people who used a computer once per week or more were 42 percent less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who did not. A total of 193 out of 1,077 people (17.9 percent) in the computer use group developed mild cognitive impairment, compared to 263 out of 852 (30.9 percent) people in the group that did not report computer use.
People who engaged in social activities were 23 percent less likely to develop memory problems than those who did not engage in social activities. A total of 154 out of 767 (20.1 percent) people in the social activities group developed problems, compared to 302 out of 1,162 (26.0 percent) people who did not participate in social activities.
People who reported reading magazines were 30 percent less likely to develop memory problems. Those who engaged in craft activities such as knitting were 16 percent less likely to develop memory problems. Similarly, those who played games were 14 percent less likely to develop memory problems.
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada....