Computers, games might help cognition

Computer use and social activities like game-playing and crafting could help older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems, according to a new Mayo Clinic study.

More than 1,900 seniors were asked about their social and computer activities for the year prior to the study's start to determine their weekly involvement.

Led by Janina Krell-Roesch, Ph.D., the research found that people who used a computer at least once a week were 42% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who didn't.

Likewise, people who engaged in social activities were 23% less likely to develop memory issues. People who reported reading magazines were 30% less likely to develop memory problems, while those who did crafts such as knitting were 16% less likely to develop problems. Those who participated in games were 14% less likely to develop memory problems.

 All of the participants were part of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.

In a press release, Krell-Roesch said the study showed association, not cause and effect, but encouraged seniors to take up such activities.