Stay Mentally Competent Till Your 100's? Use a Computer

Okay.  So if you read my blog yesterday, you learned that stress erodes our memories.

So now a new study is saying, using a computer and social activity helps our memory.  Huh?

Keeping the brain active with social activities and using a computer may help older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems, newswise.com reports.  Now we've known this for some time.  That's why you see people in nursing homes doing puzzles and crossword puzzles (and grabbing the nurse's skirt, do they wear skirts anymore? -- but that's for another time).

The bottom line is, these kinds of activities keep the 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. 

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.

Now I realize most of you reading my blog are not 70, and are probably nowhere near 70.  But as I've found, things I've done when I was younger (like exercise, and yes, using a computer), have helped me as I get older.  And I'm not (really) near 70.  Having a 14-year-old (near 60) also helps but I don't recommend that for everyone!

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. 

So here's the thing:  I remember when my parents were in their 70s and 80s and they'd pretty much checked out; watching TV and going out to lunch were their big pastimes. My dad will have his 90th birthday next month and my mom died at nearly 85.  So I guess they were doing something right. 

But I plan to live till 110.  (Well, maybe 105.)  Maybe my blog-writing will help!







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.




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