Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

Computer Use Might Lower Risk for Cognitive Problems

Every day, we strive to learn something that can catch our attention and can keep us interested in our daily routines. Playing Candy Crush games on our devices, or simply communicating with our family and friends on Facebook are just examples. These simple activities to use technology may play a vital part in decreasing the risk of cognitive decline as we get older.

Research findings from a study published last March 2016 show results related to the positive effects of using a computer for the elderly.

When people enter the geriatric period of their life, they face a significant physical decline. The brain shrinks, the cellular and vascular level changes, and stroke and dementia incidence increases. Though the cognitive decline is as real as it gets, it has sparked a number of studies as its not always affecting everyone the same way. Some are more vulnerable compared to others.

Activities that involve the physical and mental capacities, as well as the diet regimen of the participants are factors playing important roles in preserving the brains condition. Scientists tend to focus on these aspects.

A brain is like a separate entity, having experienced positive and negative memories in life. The amount of mental activity the brain experiences is just a possible reason that affects mental agility in the elderly.

Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute conducted a study which discovered that increased brain activity showed less volume reduction for those parts of the brain involved in cognitive diseases.

There are other studies that claim people with highly stimulating jobs retain their cognitive abilities as they age. But not all results can back up this research so the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ decided to investigate the chemistry between memory problems and mind and thinking activities among the elderly.

The study kept track of people aging 70 and above. There were a total of 1,929 monitored participants for 4 years.

The findings of the study showed that the group who uses computers exhibited mild cognitive decline. This group accounts for 17.9% of the participants in the study. As for the rest who did not use the device, 30.9% were affected. The conclusion is that those who use the computer religiously are 42% less likely to have cognitive problems. Those who did not use the device but are still active in social and reading activities are less likely to have memory problems at around 23% and 30%. Those who do arts and crafts were 16% less likely at risk, and those who played games were 14% less vulnerable.

Janina Krell-Roesch, the author of the study, states that there is a need to keep the mind active as the body ages. It is better to keep participating in any activity than none at all.