A study published today in the American Academy of Neurology highlights that those who participate in arts, crafts, computer use and social activities can reduce the risk of developing Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – a condition that in some cases leads on to dementia.
The study involved 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start of the study. After an average of four years, 121 people developed mild cognitive impairment.
Key findings include:
- Participants who engaged in arts in both middle and old age were 73 percent less likely to develop MCI than those who did not report engaging in artistic activities
- Those who crafted in middle and old age were 45 percent less likely to develop MCI
- People who socialised in middle and old age were 55 percent less likely to develop MCI compared to those who did not engage in like activities
- Computer use in later life was associated with a 53 percent reduced risk of MCI.
Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘Although this study looks at mild cognitive impairment rather than dementia, it does add to previous evidence that keeping your brain active during life with arts, crafts and social activities might reduce the risk of developing memory problems.
‘The inclusion of computer use, such as online shopping and gaming, in this study is interesting but more research is needed to determine whether regular computer use has any long-term effects on memory.
‘Alzheimer’s Society has long promoted the benefits of arts, crafts and social interaction as a way to help people with dementia live well and reduce loneliness. However, it is too early to say whether these activities done regularly throughout life can help keep dementia at bay.’