Teasing Your Brain

squaresTry to answer the riddle to the right. How many squares can you find? The answer might surprise you!

Whether you were right or not is far less important than giving it a go, according to a Mayo Clinic study that found mentally stimulating activities may help to protect aging brains.

From CBS News:

Activities that keep the brain busy — using a computer, crafting, playing games and participating in social activities — appear to lower the risk of age-related mental decline in people 70 and older, the Mayo Clinic study found.

“These kind of commonly engaged in, stimulating activities actually reduce the risk of people developing mild cognitive impairment,” said co-author Dr. Ronald Petersen. He’s director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minn.

According to United Press International (UPI), the study suggested that keeping your brain active and stimulated lowered the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment by:

  • 30 percent with computer use,
  • 28 percent with craft activities,
  • 23 percent with social activities, and
  • 22 percent with game play.

By the way, there is a strong Arizona connection to this study as its senior author, Dr. Yonas Geda, is a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic’s Scottsdale campus. Dr. Geda is quoted in U.S. News & World Report as saying the results don’t apply to costly, computer-based games that purport to keep the brain sharp — those were not studied. The benefits were found from activities that many seniors have access to.”They don’t have to spend their life savings” on fancy gadgets, Dr. Geda said.

Interesting note from the study is that researchers found a protective effect from each of the activities studied – except for reading books. Study participants who engaged in any of the other activities at least once weekly were 20 percent to 30 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive conditions (over a four year span) than those who never did those activities.

Share your thoughts on this new study and how we can use it to encourage the people of our state to keep their minds stimulated as they get older. Working with our members to look for practical solutions to the health issues we face, is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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