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Brain teasers may protect against mild cognitive impairment

Washington: Keeping your brain busy and sharp with a steady flow of activities is likely you help you fight against mild brain disabilities.

Rochester-based Mayo Clinic researchers have found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, even late in life, may protect against new-onset mild cognitive impairment, which is the intermediate stage between normal cognitiveaging and dementia.

The study, published in the January 30 edition of JAMA Neurology, found that cognitively normal people 70 or older who engaged in computer use, craft activities, social activities and playing games had a decreased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.

Researchers followed 1,929 cognitively normal participants of the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota, for an average duration of four years.

After adjusting for sex, age and educational level, researchers discovered that the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment decreased by 30 percent with computer use, 28 percent with craft activities, 23 percent with social activities, and 22 percent with playing games.

M.D., psychiatrist and behavioural neurologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, Yonas Geda said, “Our team found that persons who performed these activities at least one to two times per week had less cognitive decline than those who engaged in the same activities only two to three times per month or less”.

The benefits of being cognitively engaged even were seen among apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 carriers. APOE e4 is a genetic risk factor for mild cognitiveimpairment and Alzheimer’s dementia. However, for APOE e4 carriers, only computer use and social activities were associated with a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment.(ANI)