By Rick McVicar
Several studies can be found suggesting that reading and playing board games can postpone the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia for a few years.
For instance, a post found on Alzheimer's Research UK’s website describes a study showing that “reading, writing and playing board games in later life could delay the onset of dementia by five years.”
The study was conducted in Chicago with more than 450 people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers asked participants how often they read, write or play board games.
The researchers found that participants with the highest amount of brain activity usually did not have Alzheimer's until age 94. Those with the lowest amount of brain activity began having Alzheimer's at age 89, on average.
The study was published by the Neurology journal on July 14, 2021.
Another article, published by Cambridge University Press, describes a study of about 2,000 people in Taiwan. Yu-Hung Chang wrote about the study in, “Reading Activity Prevents Long-Term Decline in Cognitive Function,” June 4, 2020.
The study followed participants for 14 years. Those who read more than once a week were “less likely to have cognitive decline… Reading was protective of cognitive functions later in life.”
Still another study examined the brains of deceased Alzheimer's patients.
The brain study is described by Alan Castel in, “Can Reading Help My Brain Grow and Prevent Dementia?” The article can be found in Psychology Today, April 11, 2018.
After death, the brains of those who had read frequently during their lives showed less signs of dementia.
Castel concludes, “Lifelong reading, especially in older age, maybe one of the secrets to preserving mental ability.”
Finally, Time published the results of a study on May 30,2018. Alexandra Sifferlin wrote about the study in, “Reading Books and Playing Games May Help Prevent Dementia.” The study was first published in JAMA Psychiatry.
“The researchers found that the risk of developing dementia was significantly lower among people who reported daily intellectual activities,” Sifferlin writes.
That study involved 15,500 participants in Hong Kong. Researchers followed participants for five years. The study covered the frequency of reading and playing board games.