Picture: file Keeping the brain active through social activities isn’t just great fun – it can ward off dementia, a report found.

TAKING part in a book club is about catching up with friends, enjoying a few glasses of wine, and, well, discussing a novel.

But keeping the brain active through social activities isn’t just great fun – it can ward off dementia, a report found.

The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), which analysed international research on mental ageing, said: ‘In the same way that you need to maintain exercise for physical strength, you need to participate in mental activities to support the health of your brain.

‘There are many ways to incorporate activities into your daily life. For example, deliberately engaging and challenging your brain over time results in better cognitive ageing for adults.’

In its Engage Your Brain report, the GCBH said taking part with friends would help us stick with learning something new.

But it warned many brain training games, which use quizzes to test memory, lacked evidence ‘to support the claims that companies have promoted’. Urging people to look carefully at what the brain training companies were offering, the GCBH added: ‘It is also important to consider other choices such as participating in a book club or learning a new language.’

James Goodwin, chief scientist at Age UK, said: ‘There are plenty of activities that we can start today that can provide benefits for brain health.’