Science

Cognitive Impairment In Seniors Can Be Reduced With Brain Stimulating Activities

By Allan Alforte , Jan 31, 2017 02:28 AM EST
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Mild Cognitive impairment is defined as the intermediate stage between normal cognitive function and dementia. New studies have examined how engaging in mentally stimulating activities can reduce mild cognitive impairment. According to long term studies, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects between 16 to 20 percent of people who are 65 years old and above.

MCI is the loss of cognitive function that is not so severe as to interfere with activities of daily living but has a strong potential and is likely to develop into dementia. Studies suggest that between 20 to 40 percent of people who have MCI develop into dementia. Dr. Yonas E. Geda from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, led a research which studied the link between brain stimulating activities and cognitive functioning in healthy adults who are aged 70 and over.

The team examined 1,929 healthy seniors with good cognitive functions who took part in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. The participants were tested and deemed normal at the beginning of the study. Participants provided information about their participation in brain stimulating activities during the year before the study begun.

Researchers then clinically followed the participants for four years to see how many of them developed MCI. They performed neurocognitive tests and evaluated the seniors every 15 months. The team also took blood tests from the participants to determine APOE ε4 genotyping which is linked to plaque buildup found in Alzheimer.

At the end of the study, 23 percent or 456 participants had developed new-onset MCI. Additionally, 26.7 or 512 participants were carriers of APOE ε4 genotype. It was revealed that brain-stimulating activities significantly decreased the risk of new onset MCI. These activities included computer use, social activities, playing games and crafts. Reading was associated with decreased risk of MCI almost reached statistical significance.

Authors of the study stated that engaging in activities that stimulates the brain even later in live can lower the chances of developing MCI. The research also revealed that participants who did not engage in stimulating activities and were carriers of APOE ε4 had the highest risk of developing MCI as reported by Medical News Today.

In another study, it was found that walking for an hour for three times a week can help reduce cognitive impairment that causes dementia in some seniors. Vascular cognitive disorder is a disease in the brain’s blood vessels. The study found that seniors who walk were able to improve the cognitive abilities as reported by CBC News.

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