Stimulating activities are necessary to avoid cognitive decline

Posted Jan 12, 2020 by Tim Sandle
A new study finds that to help avoid cognitive decline in old age, people need to engage in two or more mentally stimulating activities. The researchers tested out different activities to assess what works best for those entering a more advanced age.
Loneliness affects groups such as the elderly and bereaved.
Loneliness affects groups such as the elderly and bereaved.
The research finds that people who participate in two or more mentally stimulating activities have a lower association with mild cognitive impairment. The types of activities include book reading, working on a computer, and different types of interactive social activities.
Mild cognitive impairment is a medical term for the stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia.
The data was based on a study of 2,000 people who were aged 70 over at the start of the study. Each participant was followed over a five year period and assessed for clinical progression of mild cognitive impairment. The following mentally stimulating activities were assessed: reading books, using a computer, engaging in social activities , playing games and engaging in craft activities.
During the course of the study period, 532 people developed mild cognitive impairment. An analysis of the findings showed that risk of developing mild cognitive impairment was significantly lower for those who engaged in more stimulating activities than those who did not.
According to lead researcher Dr. Janina Krell-Roesch: “There are currently no drugs that effectively treat mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, so there is growing interest in lifestyle factors that may help slow brain aging believed to contribute to thinking and memory problems — factors that are low cost and available to anyone.”
The findings support other studies. For example, a meta-analysis including 19 studies reveals that participation in certain activities is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
The research into the different risks connected with mild cognitive impairment have been published in the journal Neurology. The research paper is titled “Quantity and quality of mental activities and the risk of incident mild cognitive impairment.”