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Do Brain Exercises Prevent Memory Loss?

The debated issue of whether brain activities can prevent memory loss continues be a hot topic. A just released study supports the value of participating in certain mental activities.

The study suggests activities like reading magazines or crafting in middle age or later in life may delay or prevent memory loss.

Investigators studied 197 people between the ages of 70 and 89 with mild cognitive impairment, or diagnosed memory loss, and 1,124 people that age with no memory problems.

Both groups answered questions about their daily activities within the past year and in middle age, when they were between 50 to 65 years old.

The study found that during later years, reading books, playing games, participating in computer activities and doing craft activities such as pottery or quilting led to a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the risk of developing memory loss compared to people who did not do those activities.

People who watched television for less than seven hours a day in later years were 50 percent less likely to develop memory loss than people who watched for more than seven hours a day.

People who participated in social activities and read magazines during middle age were about 40 percent less likely to develop memory loss than those who did not do those activities.

“This study is exciting because it demonstrates that aging does not need to be a passive process. By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss,” said study author Yonas Geda, MD, MSc, a neuropsychiatrist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“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.”

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Do Brain Exercises Prevent Memory Loss?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Do Brain Exercises Prevent Memory Loss?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/02/18/do-brain-exercises-prevent-memory-loss/4196.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.