Nav: Home

Using a computer, social activities tied to reduced risk of memory decline

March 03, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS - Keeping the brain active with social activities and using a computer may help older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016.

"The results show the importance of keeping the mind active as we age," said study author Janina Krell-Roesch, PhD, with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and member of the American Academy of Neurology. "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.

Participants were asked about their engagement in mentally stimulating activities such as computer use, reading, crafting and social activities within 12 months before participation in the study using a questionnaire. The investigators then wanted to know if participants who engaged in mental activities at least once per week had a lower risk for new onset of mild cognitive impairment as compared to those participants who did not engage in these activities.

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.
-end-
The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Program, the European Regional Development Fund and the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium.

Learn more about memory and thinking problems at http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 30,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Mayo Clinic Articles:

Mayo Clinic researchers review modern cases of leprosy
Leprosy has a history that has spanned centuries and societies across the globe.
Kidney stones on the rise, Mayo Clinic study finds
Kidney stones are a painful health condition, often requiring multiple procedures at great discomfort to the patient.
Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate value of second opinions
Many patients come to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation before treatment for a complex condition.
Mayo Clinic researchers clarify chemo resistance, and perhaps a new therapy
Mayo Clinic scientists have identified a specific protein implicated in drug resistance, as well as a possible therapeutic tool.
Mayo Clinic researchers identify therapy
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that an experimental drug, LCL161, stimulates the immune system, leading to tumor shrinkage in patients affected by multiple myeloma.
Mayo Clinic researchers uncover new agents
Mayo Clinic researchers have uncovered three new agents to add to the emerging repertoire of drugs that aim to delay the onset of aging by targeting senescent cells -- cells that contribute to frailty and other age-related conditions.
Mayo Clinic: Reversing physician burnout, using nine strategies to promote well-being
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have been documenting the rise and costs of physician burnout for more than a decade.
Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology receive grant
Mayo Clinic and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been awarded a five-year, $9.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to support a Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (PS-OC).
Mayo Clinic and ASU to form collaborative research teams
Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University's research leadership announce the launch of a new grant program that will team up research scientists and clinicians from both institutions to develop transformative solutions for patients.
Mayo Clinic introduces precision medicine in psychiatry
Mayo Clinic is highlighting the potential merits of using precision medicine in prescribing antidepressants.
More Mayo Clinic News and Mayo Clinic Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.