Arts and crafts may stave off dementia
Arts and crafts, such as pottery, knitting, woodworking and painting, could be good hobbies to pick up in middle age. According to new research published in Neurology, middle-age and older adults who partake in these type of activities regularly may reduce their risk of developing the thinking and memory problems associated with dementia.
To conduct their study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic followed 256 people with the average age of 87 at the beginning of the study. Overall, 121 people developed mild cognitive impairment during the four years of research. But the people who engaged in artistic activities such as painting or drawing, in both middle age and when they were 85 and older, were 73 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not engage in artistic activities. Additionally, people who engaged in woodworking were 45 percent less likely.
While the study’s authors said they do not know why these activities appear to lower a person’s risk of dementia, the findings are consistent with previous studies that have shown that cognitively stimulating and social activities can slow mental decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.