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Exercise can reduce dementia risk by 50%, say researchers

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Older people who take part in mentally stimulating activities are significantly less likely to develop memory loss, say US researchers.

They studied over 1,000 people aged 70 to 89 with no memory problems, and 197 people the same age who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or memory loss.

The researchers found that those who undertook activities such as reading books, playing computer games, or doing craft activities such as pottery in later life were 30% to 50% less likely to develop memory loss than those who did not.

The study authors said: ‘This study demonstrates that aging does not have to be a passive process. By simply engaging in cognitive exercise, you can protect against future memory loss.’

The study results will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, in April.

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