Memory problems reduce with exercise and computer games

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According to new research carried out at the Mayo Clinic in America, regular exercise and playing computer games can help to ward off memory problems a...

According to new research carried out at the Mayo Clinic in America, regular exercise and playing computer games can help to ward off memory problems and dementia.

As part of a questionnaire, 926 participants, aged between 70 and 93, were asked about their lifestyle habits from the past year, including how often they exercised and used the computer.

Their responses were then analysed and compared with their current state of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

It was revealed that those who had a combination of exercise and computer use in their lifestyle were less likely to experience problems with memory loss and were less at risk of MCI.

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Out of the people who did not exercise or use a computer, 37.6 percent were showing signs of MCI, the phase in between normal age-related memory loss and the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  

Just over 20 percent of that group were cognitively normal.

But in the group of participants who both exercised and used a computer, 36 percent were cognitively normal and only 18.3 percent were showing signs of MCI.

Dr Yonas Geda is a physician scientist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and was also the lead author of the study.

He said: “The aging of baby boomers is projected to lead to dramatic increases in the prevalence of dementia.

“As frequent computer use has becoming increasingly common among all age groups, it is important to examine how it relates to aging and dementia.

“Our study further adds to this discussion.”

It was discovered, somewhat surprisingly, that moderate exercise was the most beneficial in preventing memory loss as opposed to vigorous activity.

Moderate exercise was classified as being swimming, brisk walking, hiking and yoga, among other things.

The study has now been published in the May 2012 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The Healthcare Global magazine is now available on the iPad. Click here to download it.

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