Reading, listening to the radio, spending time with family ‘can reduce dementia risk’ – The Irish Times


According to a study, reading a book, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends can help reduce the risk of dementia.

Researchers reviewed existing studies looking at the effects of mental, physical, and social activities on dementia risk.

They found that leisure activities such as crafts or playing sports were linked to a reduced risk of dementia.

According to the study, those who engage in leisure activities have a 17% lower risk of developing dementia than those who do not engage in leisure activities.

Study author Professor Lin Lu, from Peking University Sixth Hospital in Beijing, China, said: “Previous studies have shown that leisure activities are associated with various health benefits. , such as a lower cancer risk, a reduction in atrial fibrillation, and a person’s perception. of their own well-being.

“However, there is conflicting evidence for the role of leisure activities in preventing dementia. Our research found that leisure activities like doing crafts, playing sports or volunteering were linked to a reduced risk of dementia.

The meta-analysis involved a review of 38 studies from around the world involving a total of more than two million people who did not have dementia. They provided information about their hobbies through questionnaires or interviews.

Leisure activities have been defined as those in which people engage for pleasure or well-being and have been divided into mental, physical and social activities.

During the studies, 74,700 people developed dementia and, after adjusting for factors such as age, gender and education, the researchers found that leisure activities were linked overall to a reduced risk of dementia.

Mental activity consisted primarily of intellectual pursuits and included reading or writing for pleasure, watching television, listening to the radio, playing games or musical instruments, using a computer, and doing crafts .

People who participated in these activities had a 23% lower risk of dementia, according to the study.

Physical activities included walking, running, swimming, cycling, using exercise equipment, playing sports, yoga, and dancing. Researchers found that people who participated in these activities had a 17% lower risk of dementia.

Social activities primarily referred to activities that involved communication with others and included attending a class, joining a social club, volunteering, visiting relatives or friends, or participating in religious activities . The study found that people who participated in these activities had a 7% lower risk of dementia.

Prof Lu said: ‘This meta-analysis suggests that being active has benefits, and there are many activities that are easy to incorporate into daily life that can benefit the brain.

“Our research has found that leisure activities can reduce the risk of dementia. Future studies should include larger samples and longer follow-up time to reveal more links between leisure activities and dementia.

The results are published in the journal Neurology. — PA


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