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Knitting boosts memory

Knitting boosts memory

Loving knitting or crocheting won't just mean you always have a present handy for friends and family - you could be warding off dementia, too.

Recently arts and crafts have enjoyed a resurgence among younger people, with many realising the benefits such hobbies have on their wellbeing. Not only can they be sociable and cheaper than many other activities, a new study now claims they can also help prevent memory loss.

Research from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota shows people who regularly enjoyed hobbies such as pottery, painting, quilting, knitting or crocheting had a lower risk of developing dementia. Those who participate in such crafts and socialise in middle and old age were shown to be 73 per cent less likely to suffer memory loss.

"As millions of older adults are reaching the age where they may experience these memory and thinking problems, called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), it is important we look to find lifestyle changes that may stave off the condition," study author Dr Rosebud Roberts explained.

"Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age."

Middle to old-aged participants who engaged in arts showed 73 per cent less likely to develop MCI, while with crafts it was 45 per cent. Those who socialised were 55 per cent less likely to develop MCI, while those who continued to use computers were 53 per cent less likely.

The study looked at 256 people with an average age of 87, who were free of memory problems at the start. It was published in the Neurology journal.

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