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Arts and Crafts May Ward Off Dementia

by Bethany (follow)
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The American Academy of Neurology recently did a study of lifestyle factors that could benefit or prevent cognitive impairment in people over the age of 85, Huffington Post reports.

The study found a relationship between participation in arts and crafts, and a delay in the development of cognitive and memory problems in the elderly. Out of 256 participants, 121 developed mild cognitive impairment after 4.1 years. People who engaged in crafts were 45 percent less likely to develop impairments; and 73 percent with engagement in arts, both during middle and old age.

The study also showed that socialisation helped reduce the likelihood of cognitive impairment by 55 percent, while elderly people who used computers in later life were at 53 percent less risk of developing cognitive impairment.

Pink knitting in front of a pink sweatshirt - Johntex, Wikicommons

"As millions of older US adults are reaching the age where they may experience these memory and thinking problem called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), it is important we look to find lifestyle changes that may stave off the condition," study author Rosebud Roberts, MB, ChB, MS, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, told Eureka Alert.

"Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age."

A similar study was performed back in 2003, by the New England Journal of Medicine, with 469 subjects over 5.1 years, with similar results.

These studies really highlight the importance of keeping your mind active. It isn’t just arts and crafts — any activity that is mentally stimulating can have a positive effect on helping your mind stay healthy and sharp. Try board games, card games, crossword puzzles, playing an instrument; even a good old fashioned group discussion can really help stimulate your mental faculties. Every little bit can help.

Of course, it is important to remember that these are only parts of a larger whole, and not a cure-all. There are many, many other factors that contribute to the onset of mild cognitive impairment, which should be discussed with a health care professional.

If you’re looking to meet fellow craft-lovers in your city, or pick up a new hobby of your own, check out Classie’s wide range of crafty classes today! More details available on the Classie website.

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