Residents who read books, participate in social events and use a computer at least three times every week are likely to have better cognitive performance and even may delay the onset of cognitive impairment by as many as nine years, according to new research published in JAMA Neurology.
Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues also found that those who completed more years of school and whose jobs were more complex had better cognitive performance as well. They came to their conclusions after studying 1,995 individuals (aged 70 to 89 years) without dementia (1,718 were “cognitively normal,” and 277 individuals had mild cognitive impairment) in Olmsted County, Minnesota. They analyzed education/occupation scores and mid/late-life cognitive activity based on self-reports.
High lifetime intellectual enrichment may delay the onset of cognitive impairment by almost nine years in carriers of the APOE4 genotype, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, compared with low lifetime intellectual enrichment, the researchers say. “Lifetime intellectual enrichment might…be used as a successful preventive intervention to reduce the impending dementia epidemic,” they write.