Computer Literacy May Support Cognition in Elders

Emerging research suggests minimal levels of digital competency can help to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.

The new study is the first to show the ability to engage, plan, and execute digital actions, such as web browsing and exchanging emails, can improve memory.

The study is published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences.

Investigators analyzed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a study of 6442 participants in the UK between the ages of 50 and 89 for eight years.

A key marker included the measured recall from a 10-word-list learning task across five separate measurement points. Higher wealth, education, and digital literacy improved recall, while people with functional impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depressive symptoms, or no digital literacy showed recall decline.

The researchers’ findings suggest that “digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve or leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline.”

Study authors conclude that training residents in digital literacy can help countries reduce rates for dementia over the coming decades.

Source: Oxford University Press

Elderly man using computer photo by shutterstock.