Protecting yourself from dementia with an active mind

A new study shows that seniors who engage in mentally-stimulating activities significantly reduce their risk for developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often leads to dementia.

What they found:

  • The report is based off of a population-based cohort study of 1929 cognitively normal participants all over the age of 70. The study followed the participants for an average of four years.
  • The study’s team found that people who participated in mentally-stimulating activities at least once or twice a week had less cognitive decline than those who participated in the same activities only two or three times a month.
  • These mentally-stimulating activities included computer use, which decreased participants’ risk by 30%, craft activities (28%), social activities (23%), and game play (22%).
  • Researchers also followed the development of participants who were APOE e4 carriers, a genetic risk factor for MCI and Alzheimer’s disease. Mentally-stimulating activities may help to reduce the risk of new-onset MCI for these participants, as well.
  • In addition to mentally-stimulating activities, older adults should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise in order to ensure the best defense against cognitive decline.

Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is important no matter your age. This study reemphasizes the importance of taking care of your mind as well as your body.

Dr. Yonas Geda, a senior author of the study, states, “What is perhaps most exciting about this effort is that we are expanding the conversation around mental health, particularly among the elderly, to better understand how to remain mentally fit as we age.”