Art may delay onset of dementia

New research indicates that people who participate in arts and craft activities in middle and old age may delay the development in very old age of the cognitive problems that often lead to dementia. Those engaged in the arts in middle age are up to 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than others.

The research published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology involved 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start of the study. The participants reported their participation in arts, such as painting, drawing and sculpting; crafts, like woodworking, pottery, ceramics and quilting; social activities, like theatre-going and meeting friends; and computer activities such as internet use and computer gaming. After an average of four years, 121 people developed mild cognitive impairment.