Swiss scientists have found that the use of the Internet in older age can help stop cognitive decline. They asked 897 to pass a cognitive test of attention twice with an interval of six years, tracked the correlation between changes in the results and use of the Internet in the beginning of the study. Those participants who used the Internet more often, cognitive decline was less noticeable, but it concerned only men and not women. Apparently, the dependence between cognitive decline and use of Internet due to which online activity prefer elderly people depending on sex, write the scientists in Scientific Reports.
Cognitive decline (e.g. memory and attention) — quite natural to the older process. He accompanies characteristic of old age the loss of neurons (neurodegeneration) and could be a symptom of neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., dementia — beyond Alzheimer’s disease or along with it). Of course, the process itself and its consequences can be prevented, and to aggravate — particularly with lifestyle. For example, last year scientists foundthat older people who prefer to spend a lot of time watching TV, less the amount of verbal memory.
Impact on cognitive decline of the Internet, in turn, studied a little — largely because among the elderly, in principle, not so many users. Andres islet (Andreas Ihle) from the University of Geneva and his colleagues decided to conduct a long-term study involving elderly people who actually use the Internet. They took 3080 participants aged 64 to 96 years (mean age 80 years), but until the second wave of the study (all were two waves that were separated six years) lived only 897 persons (mean age 74.3 years), and the analysis was conducted only on their data.
The scientists collected information on how often study participants use the Internet (on a scale from 0 “never used” to 4 “use every day for three hours and more”). In addition, the participants also provided demographic data, information about education and work in particular, scholars interested in meant whether the work of the participants throughout their lives any mental labor. All these data considered in the analysis.
As the primary tool to measure cognitive function, the scientists chose a fairly common test, which should be faster, but it does not make mistakes, to connect 25 points between them in ascending order (in the English language this test is called the Trail Making Test, and it is possible to try, for example, here). Additionally, participants also had to pass a little complicated test where I had to connect the numbers from 1 to 13 and letters A to L in ascending order and alphabetical order, alternating between numbers and letters (1 to connect with A, then with 2, then with B and so on).
Considering all the negative variables, more frequent use of the Internet in the first wave was associated with smaller changes in time, which was necessary for the participants to complete the task. In other words, the more participants used the Internet, the lower was their rate of cognitive decline, which reflected the results of the test. Interestingly, a similar dependence was observed in men (p = 0.002), but not in women (p = 0,618).