Regular use of computers appears to reduce the incidence of dementia by up to 40 per cent according to a major study of more than 5,000 men aged 69-87, conducted in Western Australia over the last eight years.
Osvaldo Almeida, from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing based at the University of Western Australia, and the lead investigator on the project, said that while there has been evidence that linked higher levels of education and mental activity with lower rates of dementia, this survey points to a similar link between computer use and dementia.
“For those who use regularly the internet, email, browse information and communicate with family it seems to decrease the risk of dementia,” said Prof Almeida.
According to the paper, published in the current edition of the Plosone journal, 24 million people worldwide had been diagnosed with dementia in 2005. That figure had been expected to reach 50 million by 2025.
According to Prof Almeida however the WA study suggests that the future may in fact not be that bleak given that more and more older people now have access to technology.