Computer use may reduce memory decline risk in elderly

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New York, March 5 (IANS) Older adults who participate in social and mentally stimulating activities like reading and using computer may lower the risk of developing memory and thinking problems, finds a study.

Researchers found that people who use computer once per week or more were 42 percent less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who did not.

“The results show the importance of keeping the mind active as we age,” said study author Janina Krell-Roesch from the American Academy of Neurology in the US.

“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,” Krell-Roesch added.

The research would be presented in April at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

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The team followed 1,929 people aged 70 and older, who were part of the larger Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Rochester, US.

The participants had normal memory and thinking abilities at recruitment of the study.

They were then followed for an average of four years until they developed mild cognitive impairment or remained impairment-free.

The participants were asked using a questionnaire about their engagement in mentally stimulating activities such as computer use, reading, crafting and social activities.

The results show that people who engage in social activities were 23 percent less likely to develop memory problems than those who did not engage 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.

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Similarly, those who played games were 14 percent less likely to develop memory problems.

Participants who engaged in mental activities at least once a week had lower risk for new onset of mild cognitive impairment as compared to those participants who did not engage in these activities, the researchers concluded.

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