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Regular internet use may be linked to lower dementia risk in older adults, study says

CNN – If your parents or grandparents ask you how to post on Instagram or how to send a birthday message to a Facebook friend, a new study suggests you might want to help them – not just to be nice but because getting them online may help their brain health, too.

A study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that older people who regularly used the internet were less likely to develop dementia.

The researchers saw this association after about eight years tracking 18,154 adults between the ages of 50 and 65 who did not have dementia when the study period began.

The adults were a part of the Health and Retirement Study, a multidisciplinary collection of data from a representative sample of people in the US that is gathered by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration.

Each of the participants was asked a simple question: “Do you regularly use the World Wide Web, or the Internet, for sending and receiving e-mail or for any other purpose, such as making purchases, searching for information, or making travel reservations?”

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People who used the internet at the start of the study had about half the risk of dementia as people who were not regular users.

The researchers also looked at how often these adults were online, from not at all to more than eight hours a day. Those who used the internet for about two hours or less a day had the lowest risk of dementia compared with those that didn’t use the internet, who had a “notably higher estimated risk.”

The researchers noted that people who were online six to eight hours a day had a higher risk of dementia, but that finding wasn’t statistically significant, they said, and more research is needed.

Scientists still don’t know what causes dementia, so the new research can’t pinpoint the exact connection between internet usage and brain health … READ MORE. 

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