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Mentally stimulating activities can cut cognitive decline

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

mild cognitive impairment

Story at-a-glance -

  • Engaging in activities that stimulate your brain is one of the simplest ways to keep your mind sharp as you age
  • In a study of 2,000 people aged 70 years or older, researchers issued surveys on the timing, number and frequency of engagement in five mentally stimulating activities
  • Engaging in two activities led to a 28% lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) compared to doing none of them
  • Those who engaged in three activities lowered their risk of MCI by 45%, while those who took part in four activities cut their risk by 56%
  • You can take steps to improve the health of your brain and lower your risk of MCI; engaging in mentally stimulating activities is one piece of the puzzle, and you can further bolster your brain health by leading a healthy lifestyle

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a noticeable decline in cognitive abilities that does not yet interfere with most daily functions. In the most common form of MCI, known as amnestic MCI, memory problems may occur more often than in people without the condition, and you may, for example, lose things often, forget appointments or have difficulty coming up with the right word while in conversation.

While symptoms of MCI aren’t severe enough to hamper your normal activities, the major concern is that people with MCI have an increased risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your brain function and cut your risk of MCI as you age, including indulging in a variety of mentally stimulating activities.


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