The surprising hobby that could prevent dementia, according to scientists
It’s a pastime usually associated with teenage girls, shiny pens, and angst.
But journaling, or journaling, might also help older people stave off dementia, research suggests.
The researchers analyzed data from 10,000 people over the age of 70 living in Australia who were followed for about 10 years.
They found that those who engaged in more literacy activities, such as journaling, letter writing or using a computer, were 11 percent less likely to develop dementia.
Engaging in literary activities, such as journaling or writing letters, may reduce dementia risk, study suggests (file photo)
What is dementia?
Dementia is a general term used to describe a category of symptoms marked by behavioral changes and a gradual decline in cognitive and social abilities.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, but other dementia conditions include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be caused by the abnormal buildup of proteins in and around brain cells.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK predictions, one million people in the country will have dementia by 2025, doubling to two million by 2050.
Meanwhile, active mental activities like playing games, cards or chess, and doing crosswords or puzzles were linked to a 9 percent reduced risk.
The researchers also found that artistic activities, such as carpentry, metalworking, painting or drawing, and passive mental activities, such as reading newspapers or listening to music, reduced the risk of developing the disease by 7 percent.
On the other hand, they found that outings and social interactions didn’t seem to have any effect.
Writing in the Jama Network Open journal, the team, from Monash University in Melbourne, said: “These results suggest that participation in adult literacy, creative art, and active and passive mental activities may help reduce the risk dementia in old age.
“For older adults, lifestyle enrichment may be particularly important because it could help prevent dementia through modifications to daily routines.
“A lifestyle enriched with various leisure activities can reflect an optimistic personality and confer cognitive benefits by stimulating the growth of neurons and synapses and promoting well-being.”
The team added that their findings may help guide geriatric care policies and interventions that focus on dementia prevention for older adults.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are around 50 million people with dementia worldwide, and there are almost 10 million new cases each year.
A 2021 study estimated that global cases of dementia will nearly triple to reach more than 152 million by 2050, driven by an aging population.
The largest increase in dementia prevalence is expected to occur in eastern sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, the University of Washington experts said.
A treatment for dementia? ‘Klotho’ protein revs up brains of old monkeys, and experts say it might work in humans, too
A drug to boost the brain in old age has come one step closer.
According to a study, a single injection of a protein called klotho can boost cognitive function in older monkeys.
People who have a high level of klotho, due to a genetic quirk, have better brainpower and are less likely to develop dementia.
But scientists want to understand if adding protein could help boost thinking skills.