According to a new study, playing cards or betting on horse racing can help delay or prevent dementia in people over 65 years of age.
To arrive at these conclusions, researchers studied a cohort of 15,582 Chinese people aged 65 and over living in community. None suffered from dementia. The follow-up lasted five years. A total of 1349 people among the 15,582 initially studied (8.7%) developed dementia. A very encouraging figure, when we know that Alzheimer’s disease alone affects nearly 15% of people over 70 in the United States. The intellectual activities practiced by the cohort were as simple as reading books, newspapers or magazines, playing board games or cards, and betting on horse racing.
In addition, supplementing these mind exercises with physical activity further reduces the risk of dementia, according to the new study, which was published in Neurology. The team found that almost all types of exercise (walking, running, cycling, weightlifting, yoga, tai chi) can help improve cognitive performance, even in people with mild dementia. The benefits of physical exercise on intellectual activity appeared after 52 hours of practice over a period of six months.
Dementia is a condition for the partial or total loss of an individual’s cognitive abilities. This decrease of the higher functions is irreversible and its appearance is generally progressive. Dementia reaches memory, attention, learning abilities, and results in loss of sensory, cognitive and motor skills, and sometimes behavioral disorders. According to Alzheimer Disease International, “already 62% of people with dementia live in developing countries, but by 2050 this number will increase to 71%.” The fastest increase in the elderly population is taking place in China , and in its neighbors in southern Asia and the western Pacific.