A recent study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society showed that the risk of dementia diseases such as Alzheimer's can be cut in half with older people simply by consistently using the Internet.
The study, "Internet Usage and the Prospect Risk of Dementia: A Population-Based Cohort Study," published on May 3, concluded that scrolling the Internet was very beneficial:
" Regular internet users experienced approximately half the risk of dementia than non-regular users."
Moreover, this benefit applies even later in life, delaying cognitive impairment.
"Being a regular internet user for longer periods in late adulthood was associated with delayed cognitive impairment, although further evidence is needed on potential adverse effects of excessive usage."
Just in case you are asking, a "cohort" study is a type of longitudinal study—an approach that follows research participants over a period of time (often many years). It means they studied people's habits over a long period of time.
In this case, the study covered 18,154 people over an average of 7.9 years, and up to 17.1 years. These people did not start out having dementia and the people in the study were from 50 to 64.9 years old when they started in the study.
The study produced a 57% Cause-Specific Hazard Ratio (CHR) of 57%. That means that 43% of the time, dementia was reduced by using the Internet (i.e., 1-0.57). By the end of the study, 4.68% of the individuals had been diagnosed with dementia.
Daily hours of usage suggested a U-shaped relationship with dementia incidence. That means that over time on the Internet the benefits of lower dementia decreased, but after a while, they increased again. Those who never went online or were there more than two hours remained at a higher risk of dementia.
The working theory behind this seems to be that cognitive engagement, is critical for protecting our brains, thereby reducing dementia risk.
One reason for this might be that learning, and using technology stimulates brain cell activity, which helps cognitive functions in the long term.
Bottom line: keep using the Internet and learning new things online, especially if you are older.
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