The article Computer Activities, Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study (PDF) reports on an ongoing population study that randomly sampled 926 individuals in Olmsted, Minnesota between the ages of 70 and 93 (abstract). The article is freely available at the Mayo clinic Proceedings site.
Participants were judged to be free from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by a medical examination and expert consensus panel. This CBS Interactive HealthPop blog post describes more about the research. Individuals who participated in this part of the larger study of normal aging competed questionnaires about the frequency and intensity of exercise and frequency of computer activities. Individuals were also asked about caloric intake.
According to the article, the data indicate an association between increased frequency of computer use and lower mild cognitive impairment. A similar association was observed between increased frequency of exercise and lower mild cognitive impairment. Individuals who indicated both moderate computer use and moderate exercise appeared to have an additive interaction, lowering their odds of mild cognitive impairment even further.
In the article the authors point out that:
The aging of the baby boomers is projected to lead to dramatic increases in the prevalence and incidence of dementia; hence, experts have recently called for interventional studies that examine the combined effects of physical exercise, mentally stimulating activities, and diet on cognitive outcomes. (page 440-41)
Other Sources to Read About this Study
- Computer Use and Exercise Combo May Reduce the Odds of Having Memory Loss, Mayo Clinic Finds - Mayo Clinic Press Release
- Online Activity Helps Senior Minds Stay Spry – MedPage Today
- Mayo: Exercise, Computer Use May Stem Memory Loss in Seniors - Minnesota Public Radio