Engaging in activities such as reading, writing and playing cards can help delay the rapid memory decline that occurs in dementia patients, it is suggested.
A study published in Neurology this week reveals that keeping the brain active can put off the onset of cognitive difficulties in later life.
The researchers questioned participants about how many leisure activities they took part in each week, including things such playing music, doing crosswords and participating in group discussions.
"The point of accelerated decline was delayed by 1.29 years for the person who participated in 11 activities per week compared to the person who participated in only four activities per week," said study author Charles B Hall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Earlier this week, research warned that high cholesterol levels increased the risk of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.
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