Exercising mind beneficial even to those with genetic risk“After adjusting for sex, age, and educational level, we observed that playing games and engaging in craft activities, computer use and social activities were associated with a decreased risk of incident MCI,” the authors reported. “Additional adjustment for medical comorbidity, depression, and APOE4 genotype did not significantly alter the results.” Among study participants who did not have APOE4, of 1,077 who used a computer, 193 developed MCI. Of 276 subjects with APOE4, 61 computer users developed MCI. Among carriers of APOE4, only computer use and engaging in social activities resulted in reduced risk of developing MCI. “We consistently observed the lowest risk of incident MCI in participants who engaged in any type of mentally stimulating activity and were APOE4 noncarriers compared with the reference group,” the authors reported. “In contrast, participants who were APOE4 carriers and did not engage in mentally stimulating activities tended to have the highest risk for incident MCI.” Including those with and without APOE4, 456 people of the total sample developed MCI, or 24 percent. Mild cognitive impairment is defined as thinking problems in the range between normal memory loss associated with aging and dementia. Also, this leads to an impaired ability to carry out the activities of daily living. Certainly, cognitive decline is what ultimately causes a senior to lose their independence.
Computer use had the most widespread benefits“Our study could not disentangle why some mentally stimulating activities (e.g. computer use) had a larger effect size on the decreased risk of incident MCI than other activities (e.g. reading books),” the authors reported. “However, we speculate that a particular mental activity (e.g. computer use) may require specific technical and manual skills and that these could be the factors that might be associated with a decreased risk of cognitive decline.” Furthermore, there are two types of MCI. Amnestic MCI means a significant impairment in memory. In non-amnestic MCI, memory remains intact. However, it does affect daily activities such as talking, visual-spatial skills and executive function (putting thoughts into action). (3) “We observed significant associations between craft activities, computer use and social activities and a decrease risk of incident amnestic MCI,” the authors reported. “However, we observed a significant association only between computer use and a decreased risk of incident nonamnestic MCI.” Social activities included outings such as going to the movies or the theater. Many seniors become socially inactive late in life due to the loss of a spouse or close friends. Even more experts encourage seniors to stay active by enrolling in programs at senior centers. Moreover, even taking a class through their local parks and recreation departments is a great idea. Most cities even offer seniors classes on how to use a computer. Fortunately, it is far less intimidating than many seniors believe. Computers never have been easier to use. In conclusion of the study, “Future research is needed to understand the mechanisms linking mentally stimulating activities and cognition late in life.”
- 1. Krell-Roesch, et al. (2017, Jan. 30). Association between mentally stimulating activities in late life and the outcome of incident mild cognitive impairment, with an analysis of the APOE4 Genotype. JAMA Neurology. Retrieved Jan. 29, 2017, from http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.3822
- 2. Carman, A. (2014, Aug. 19). What APOE means for your health. Cognitive Vitality. Retrieved Jan. 29, 2017, from http://alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/blog/what-apoe-means-for-your-health
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