Quantity and Quality of Mental Activities Are Factors in Lowering Risks of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Older individuals who engage in a higher number of mentally stimulating activities, particularly in late life, have a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to research.
The findings come from a prospective cohort study that investigated whether timing, number, and frequency of mentally stimulating activities in midlife and late life are associated with lower risks of incident MCI. The study followed 2,000 older individuals who were cognitively unimpaired at baseline for 5 years.
Participants completed a self-reported survey on timing, number, and frequency of engagement in five mentally stimulating activities: (1) reading books, (2) computer use, (3) social activities, (4) playing games, (5) craft activities at baseline.
Risk of incident MCI was significantly reduced for participants who engaged in social activities and playing games in both late life and midlife combined. Using a computer was associated with a decreased risk regardless of timing, while craft activities were associated with a reduced risk of incident MCI only when carried out in late life.
As front-line health care providers, pharmacists can counsel their customers to not only take their medications as directed but to engage in activities that keep them socially and mentally sharp.