Frequent mental activities reduce risk of cognitive decline

Frequent mental activities reduce risk of cognitive decline
Research has mounted that physical, mental and social activity help maintain brain health (Cognitive Aging, National Academies). Noting that there are few studies relating participation in mentally stimulating activities to the risk of mild cognitive impairment, a research group explored the association.

STUDY: Over an average four years, 1,929 people, 70 years and older, in the Olmsted County Mayo Study of Aging underwent a neurocognitive assessment every 15 months.

FINDINGS: Participation in stimulating activities reduced the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment by 30% with computer use, 28% with craft activities, 23% with social activities (such as going out to movies and theaters), and 22% with playing games.

COMMENT: “Our team found that persons who performed these activities at least one to two times per week had less cognitive decline than those who engaged in the same activities only two to three times per month or less,” said Yonas Geda, MD, psychiatrist and behavioral neurologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and senior author of the study.

SOURCE: JAMA Neurology, online first (January 30, 2017) doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.3822

[Ed. note: visit the ICAA Archives at for the recordings and handouts from the ICAA Virtual Summit on “Using wellness programs to enhance cognitive health.”]

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