Intellectual Activities in Later Life May Cut Dementia Risk

Reduced risk of dementia for older Chinese adults actively participating in intellectual activities.
Reduced risk of dementia for older Chinese adults actively participating in intellectual activities.

HealthDay News — Active participation in intellectual activities among adults aged 65 years or older is associated with reduced risk of dementia, according to a study published online May 30 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Allen T.C. Lee, MBChB, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study among 15,582 community-living Chinese individuals aged 65 years or older at baseline who were free of dementia. Baseline evaluations were conducted between January 1 and June 30, 2005, and follow-up assessments were performed between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2012. 

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The researchers found that during a median follow-up period of 5 years, 1,349 individuals (8.7%) developed dementia. After those who developed dementia within 3 years after baseline were excluded and after adjustment for health behaviors, physical and psychiatric comorbidities, and sociodemographic factors, the estimated odds ratio for incident dementia was 0.71 for those with intellectual activities at baseline.

"Active participation in intellectual activities, even in late life, might help delay or prevent dementia in older adults," the authors write.

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