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Activity Key in Preventing Memory Loss

A study released in February 2009 suggests that mental activities like reading magazines and craft making may delay or even prevent memory loss. The results will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle this April.

For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN recruited 197 people with mild cognitive impairment or diagnosed memory loss and 1,124 people with no memory problems. All of the participants were between the ages of 70 and 89.

Both groups answered questions about their daily activities in the past year and during their middle age years (when they were between 50 and 65 years of age).

The researchers found a 30% to 50% reduction in instances of memory loss among participants who regularly partook in mental activities like reading books, playing games, surfing the internet and doing crafts like pottery or quilting.

The participants that read magazines and were involved in social activities during middle age had a 40% decreased risk of memory loss.

On the other hand, the participants that watched television for more than 7 hours daily had a 50% increased risk of developing memory loss.

Yonas Geda, the study author and a neuropsychiatrist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN notes that these are exciting results because they highlight the fact that aging is not a passive process.

According to the results, participating in simple activities like reading, playing card games and even socializing with friends can have a significant impact on keeping our minds sharp as we age.
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