"You may be able to delay or even prevent dementia or Alzheimer's disease if you knit when you're in your 50s. Or quilt. Or read a book. Or play computer games. Engaging in a hobby in middle-age could ensure you keep your wits when you're old.
The BBC News reports that researchers from the Mayo Clinic interviewed nearly 200 people ages 70 to 80 who had mild memory problems and a control group of the same age whose memories functioned properly. The participants were asked about their daily activities during the previous year, as well as activities they engaged in when they were 50 to 65 years old.
The Mayo team found that those who spent their 50s and early 60s reading, playing games and engaging in various craft hobbies, including knitting and quilting, had a 40 percent lower risk of memory impairment than those who didn't have hobbies. In later life, these same activities reduced the risk by between 30 percent and 50 percent.
What won't work?
Watching television. Spending time in front of the TV not only won't help prevent dementia, but also could speed up memory loss. Those who watched TV less than seven hours a day were 50 percent less likely to develop memory loss than those who spent longer than that staring at the screen, reports the BBC.
"This study is exciting because it demonstrates that aging does not need to be a passive process," study author and neuroscientist Dr. Yonas Geda told the BBC. "By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss. Of course, the challenge with this type of research is that we are relying on past memories of the participants; therefore, we need to confirm these findings with additional research."
Knitting a shawl or reading a book are not only fun ways to spend time now, but also they could be the best thing you do for your future mental health.
The study findings were reported to a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology."--From the Editors at Netscape
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