Regular internet use may be associated with a lower risk of developing dementia in adults over 50, researchers say. A particularly positive effect was seen in people who stayed online for about two hours a day.
The results of the new research were published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Researchers at New York University concluded that people over 50 who regularly use the Internet may be less likely to develop dementia than people who do not use it at all.
The internet exercises the brain
For eight years, scientists followed the research of more than 18,000 people. adults aged 50-65 who showed no signs of dementia at the start of the study. Each participant was also asked a simple question: “Do you regularly use the Internet to send and receive e-mails or for any other purpose, such as shopping, researching information or booking travel?” People who answered yes were also asked how much time they spend using the Internet each day.
It turned out that people who regularly used the Internet were about 50 percent more likely to use the Internet. less likely to develop dementia than non-regular users. The best results were seen in people who used the Internet for up to 2 hours a day – they were the least likely to develop the disease.
The positive effect of the Internet on cognitive condition did not occur in those who used it for too long – from 6 to 8 hours a day. Their risk of developing dementia was even estimated to be higher than average, although according to the researchers, more research is needed to confirm this. Those who did not use the internet at all, however, had a “significantly higher estimated risk” of developing dementia.
Dementia – how to prevent the disease
Scientists still don’t know the exact cause of dementia. It is known that risk factors such as family history or age can be decisive. It is noted, however, that some healthy behaviors can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline – the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends in this case physical activity, adequate sleep, maintaining a proper weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, quitting smoking or being in close contact with other people.
Although Internet activity is not yet recommended by the CDC, a new study by American scientists may be a starting point for a broader study of its impact on the development of dementia. “Online activity can help develop and maintain cognitive resources, which in turn can compensate for brain aging and reduce the risk of dementia,” said study co-author Virginia W. Chang, Ph.D.
CNN notes that the study did not check the exact online activity of its participants. It was pointed out that although the Internet is full of not very intellectually valuable content, it is also easy to find content that can have a particularly beneficial effect on the brain.
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