A recent study looked at how computer use and other forms of mental stimulation might affect dementia risk.
Investigators studied more than 1,900 seniors who did not have signs of thinking or memory problems when the trial began.
All of the study subjects were 70 or older.
The volunteers completed an activity questionnaire that assessed how much they engaged in various stimulating mental activities, such as reading, socializing, game-playing and computer use. The scientists then kept track of the participants’ health status for the next four years.
They found that those who reported engaging in any of the activities at least one time each week were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, which increases a person’s risk for developing dementia.
Volunteers who reported using the computer at least once a week were 42 percent less likely to develop cognitive impairment, while those engaging in social activities had only a 23 percent drop in their risk for cognitive decline.
The study did not prove a cause and effect relationship between computer use and cognitive stability, but other research has shown that using a computer to search on line activates neural circuits throughout the brain, especially in the frontal lobe, which controls complex reasoning and is known as the “thinking brain.”
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