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Gardening and drinking reduce dementia risk

16th January 2006

Carrying out everyday tasks and taking time to relax are thought to lower the risk of suffering from the symptoms of dementia in later life.

A new study had identified a number of factors which may help to protect against dementia, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

By studying the everyday tasks and activities enjoyed by those aged over 60, researchers were able to see which factors were present in those who did not go on to develop the symptoms.

They found that daily gardeners were 36 per cent less likely to suffer from dementia, while moderate drinkers had a 34 per cent lower risk.

"Given the increased incidence of dementia with advancing age…research on risk factors for dementia is a national and international priority," explained the authors in the Medical Journal of Australia.

"A modest intake of alcohol and/or daily gardening activity seem to offer substantial protection against the onset of dementia."

They added that regular walking was also found to reduce the threat of memory loss and other symptoms, although the benefit was only really displayed in men.

The research follows previous studies which suggested that increasing physical activity among older people was vital in reducing the risk of cognitive impairment.