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Neurology. 2019 Jul 10. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007897. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007897. [Epub ahead of print]

Quantity and quality of mental activities and the risk of incident mild cognitive impairment.

Author information

1
From Translational Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory (J.K.-R., Y.E.G.) and Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology (Y.E.G.) and Neurology (Y.E.G.), Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ; Departments of Health Sciences Research (J.A.S., M.V., M.M. Mielke, W.K.K., Y.E.G.), Psychiatry and Psychology (M.M. Machulda), and Neurology (M.M. Mielke, D.S.K., R.C.P.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; and Institute of Sports and Sports Science (J.K.-R.), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.
2
From Translational Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory (J.K.-R., Y.E.G.) and Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology (Y.E.G.) and Neurology (Y.E.G.), Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ; Departments of Health Sciences Research (J.A.S., M.V., M.M. Mielke, W.K.K., Y.E.G.), Psychiatry and Psychology (M.M. Machulda), and Neurology (M.M. Mielke, D.S.K., R.C.P.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; and Institute of Sports and Sports Science (J.K.-R.), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. geda.yonas@mayo.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate whether timing, number, and frequency of mentally stimulating activities in midlife and late life are associated with the risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

METHODS:

We conducted a prospective cohort study in the setting of the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota, including 2,000 individuals aged ≥70 years who were cognitively unimpaired at baseline and were followed for a median of 5.0 years. Participants completed a self-reported survey on timing, number, and frequency of engagement in 5 mentally stimulating activities (reading books, computer use, social activities, playing games, craft activities) at baseline.

RESULTS:

The risk of incident MCI was significantly reduced for participants who engaged in social activities (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval] 0.80 [0.64-0.99]) and playing games (0.80 [0.66-0.98]) in both late life and midlife combined. Using a computer was associated with a decreased risk regardless of timing (not late life but midlife: 0.52 [0.31-0.88]; late life but not midlife: 0.70 [0.56-0.88]; late life and midlife: 0.63 [0.51-0.79]). Craft activities were associated with a reduced risk of incident MCI only when carried out in late life but not midlife (0.58 [0.34-0.97]). Furthermore, engaging in a higher number of activities in late life was associated with a significantly reduced risk of incident MCI (any 2 activities: 0.72 [0.53-0.99], any 3: 0.55 [0.40-0.77], any 4: 0.44 [0.30-0.65], all 5: 0.57 [0.34-0.96]).

CONCLUSION:

Engaging in a higher number of mentally stimulating activities, particularly in late life, is associated with a decreased risk of MCI among community-dwelling older persons.

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