Get knitting to keep your mind sharp
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London - A passion for knitting and crocheting could protect against dementia, experts have revealed.
Those who regularly indulged in their hobbies of painting, pottery, drawing and quilting were found to have a lower risk of developing memory problems, a new study has shown.
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota believe that the findings highlight the importance of engaging the mind.
They found people who participate in arts and crafts, and those who socialise in middle and old age, were 73 percent less likely to develop memory loss, which often leads to dementia.
The key, they believe, lies in the fact that the activities stimulate the mind and help protect vital neurons – the building blocks of the brain.
Study author Dr Rosebud Roberts, of the Mayo Clinic and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said: “As millions of older adults are reaching the age where they may experience these memory and thinking problems, called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), it is important we look to find lifestyle changes that may stave off the condition.
“Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age.”
Participants who engaged in arts in both middle and old age were 73 percent less likely to develop MCI than those who did not report engaging in artistic activities.
Those who crafted in middle and old age were 45 percent less likely to develop MCI.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start.