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- Internet use may help reduce dementia risk in older adults.
- Study followed adults aged 50 to 65 over 17 years.
- Regular users had a 1.54 percent risk of developing dementia. In contrast, non-users faced a 10.45 percent risk.
Internet use: A cognitive boost?
Recent findings from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggest that older adults who use the internet could benefit cognitively. The research, stemming from NYU's School of Global Public Health, dived deep into the long-term cognitive effects of internet usage among older adults.
Using the University of Michigan's Health and Retirement Study, scientists tracked the health outcomes of dementia-free adults between 50 and 65 years old for up to 17 years. The study revealed that:
- 65 percent of participants regularly used the internet.
- 21 percent changed their internet habits significantly during the study.
- Regular users had a 1.54 percent risk of developing dementia.
- In contrast, non-users faced a 10.45 percent risk.
Interestingly, regular internet users were only half as likely to develop dementia compared to non-users.
Understanding the connection
The relationship between internet use and dementia is complex. Claire Sexton of the Alzheimer's Association proposed two explanations: either regular internet use boosts cognitive stimulation, reducing dementia risk, or those with a lower risk naturally gravitate towards consistent internet use.
Further research is needed to pinpoint the cause and effect, but for now, it seems a bit of screen time might offer some cognitive protection for the aging population.