File photo: Gardening’s potential to reduce the risk of memory problems, such as dementia, is being assessed in a trial. PICTURE: NKULULEKO NENE

London - Gardening’s potential to reduce the risk of memory problems, such as dementia, is being assessed in a trial at the National University Hospital in Singapore.

Around 100 people with mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia, are taking part: half will be given daily horticultural therapy for nine months and the rest will receive no therapy at all. 

The two groups will be tested throughout to assess their brain function, depression and wellbeing.

The theory is that gardening helps to stimulate the senses and promotes social interaction and a sense of self-worth, which are thought to boost brain health.