If you want to be known as an old man (or woman) with a sharp memory, then start participating in arts and craft activities in your mid-life. This is as effective as socializing with others in delaying the onset of foggy memory in late age, which often leads to dementia, according to a study published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“As millions of older people reach an age prone to memory and thinking deficiency called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), it is important to understand the lifestyle changes that may stave off the condition,” said study author Rosebud Roberts, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. It has been known for some time that keeping the mind engaged with (preferably new) challenges protects the neurons, the brain’s building blocks, from dying. For the study, the researchers selected 256 people who were on an average 87 years old and free of memory and thinking problems. They recorded their involvement with social activities as also with arts and crafts if any. Also documented was their engagement with using the Internet, computer games, conducting web searches, and online purchases, was also documented.
Four years into the study 121 people developed MCI. However, the noteworthy fact was that the very few of the participants who had engaged in arts in their middle and old age reported symptoms of MCI. The study’s results indicated that such people are 73 per cent less likely to develop MCI than those who do not get into artistic activities or socialize.