In addition to being entertaining, the practice of stimulating mental activities among seniors would reduce the risk or delay age-related memory loss, called mild cognitive impairment.
The use of a computer, games, creative and social occupations… These are all stimulating mental activities that could help delay age-related memory loss, according to a study published in the American magazine Academy of Neurology this Wednesday, July 10th. According to Mayo Clinic researchers in Scottsdale, USA, changing certain habits may help slow brain aging.
In a statement, they recall that a mild cognitive impairment is a medical problem “common with aging”. Affected individuals may have difficulty performing complex tasks or understanding information. Thus linked to problems of thinking and memory, the pathology is not the same thing as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. But there is evidence that this deficiency can be a harbinger.
For their study, scientists studied 2,000 participants aged 78 years on average, who did not exhibit cognitive impairment, even mild. At the beginning of the research, the volunteers completed a questionnaire about the frequency with which they participated in five types of stimulating mental activities between their 50 to 65 years, and at a later age. Every fifteen months and for five years on average, they then passed memory tests.
During the study, 532 participants developed mild cognitive impairment. The researchers discovered that:
- The use of a computer at middle age was associated with a risk of mild cognitive impairment reduced by 48%. At an advanced age, 30%;
- Engaging in social activities (going to the movies, hanging out with friends) or playing games (crosswords, card games) in middle age or later was associated with a reduced risk of 20%;
- Craft activities were associated with a 42% reduced risk, but only later in life;
- Those who engaged in two of these activities had a 28% decreased risk of developing memory and thinking problems. Three activities, 45%. Four, 56%. Five, 43%.
Yonas E. Geda, the author of the study, nuance: “Our study was focused on observation, and so it is important to point out that although we found links between a low risk of developing a cognitive impairment in light of a variety of mentally stimulating activities, it is possible that instead of reducing the risk, a person with mild cognitive impairment may not be able to participate in these activities as often.”
“More research is needed to deepen our discoveries,” he concludes.