Many people believe that limiting internet use is healthy, but what if doing just the opposite could help reduce your chances of dementia?
Several studies have shown that people between the ages of 50 and 65 have dramatically reduced their risk of dementia simply by surfing the web a little each day.
Published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the paper’s authors at NYU’s School of Global Public Health were inspired by the lack of research on “the long-term cognitive impact of Internet use among older adults,” especially with most of what’s out there focusing on the negative impacts of Internet use rather than the potential positives.
Researchers followed the health outcomes of dementia-free adults ages 50 to 65 for up to 17 years using the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey containing information on 20,000 adults in North -big americans
Every two years between 2002 and 2018, the coordinators of the Michigan study asked participants whether they used the Internet “regularly” and, if so, how much they used it. Responses varied, but 65 percent said they were regular users and 21 percent saw their habits change significantly during their participation period.
Unfortunately, some participants also died or developed dementia during the period.
Of the participants who were active users, the authors of the new study found that there was a 1.54% risk of developing dementia, while non-users appeared to have a whopping 10.45% risk. Measuring the amount of time it took survey participants to develop dementia, the AGS study found that regular Internet users were half as likely to develop the cognitive disorder as their non-user counterparts they use
An important caveat, however, was that there also appeared to be a correlation between excessive internet use and also the development of dementia, with the risk appearing to increase in those who used it for more than two hours a day .
“Among older adults, regular Internet users may experience a lower risk of dementia compared to non-regular users, and longer periods of regular Internet use in adulthood may help reduce the risks of ‘subsequent incidence of dementia,” Gawon Cho, then at NYU. he told Medscape Medical News earlier this year about the study’s findings. “However, excessive daily Internet use may negatively affect the risk of dementia in older adults.”
As with many other studies, of course, there is always the possibility that the relationship between correlation and causation is more complex than meets the eye.
“It may be that regular Internet use is associated with increased cognitive stimulation and, in turn, reduces the risk of dementia,” Claire Sexton of the Alzheimer’s Association told Medscape. who did not participate in the research, “or it may be that people with the lowest risk of dementia are more likely to participate in regular Internet use.”
So no need to feel guilty about surfing the internet for hours on end. All this apart from helping our mental health!