Scientists have been busy trying to understand dementia better. It’s a disease that affects a person’s memory, thinking, and social abilities.
People usually develop it when they’re older. In a new study, researchers wanted to see if using the internet regularly could lower the risk of getting dementia.
How the Study Was Done
In this study, the researchers watched over 18,000 adults who didn’t have dementia. These adults were between the ages of 50 and 64.9 years old.
The researchers followed these adults for about 8 years on average, but in some cases, they followed them for as long as 17.1 years. During this time, about 5% of the adults were diagnosed with dementia.
What the Study Found
The big finding of this study was that people who used the internet regularly were about half as likely to get dementia compared to people who didn’t use the internet regularly.
This was true no matter what level of education people had, their ethnicity, their gender, or their age group.
What Does This Mean?
So, what does this all mean? Well, Dr. Virginia W. Chang, one of the researchers who worked on the study, suggests that using the internet could help build and maintain something called “cognitive reserve”.
Cognitive reserve is like a buffer for your brain. It’s the brain’s ability to cope with damage and still function normally.
The more cognitive reserve a person has, the more their brain can handle without showing signs of diseases like dementia.
By using the internet regularly, a person could be giving their brain a kind of workout. This could help build up their cognitive reserve and protect them from diseases like dementia.
Remember, Internet Time Should Be Balanced
While this study found that regular internet usage might lower the risk of dementia, it’s important to remember that balance is key.
Spending all your time on the internet isn’t healthy either. It’s important to balance internet use with other activities, like physical exercise, socializing in person with friends and family, and pursuing hobbies or interests outside of the digital world.
If you’re an older adult, or if you have an older adult in your life, consider encouraging regular, balanced internet use. It might just help keep their brain healthy for longer.
If you care about dementia, please read studies that your walking speed may tell your risk of dementia, and these high blood pressure drugs could prevent dementia.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that high-fiber diet could help lower the dementia risk, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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