Reading every day may reduce dementia risk, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in July 2018.
Researchers at Hong Kong’s Elderly Health Centres tracked more than 15,000 people ages 65 and older for five years. All of the participants were dementia-free at the study’s conception.
Dementia risk was significantly lower among those who reported daily participation in intellectual activities, like reading books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as playing board games. The benefit was independent of other health problems, lifestyle factors (fruit and vegetable intake, exercise, smoking, etc.), demographics and socioeconomic status, according to researchers.
Research on the effects of brain-stimulating activities back up the memory-boosting benefits of reading. The 2013 study, published in the journal Neurology, found that life-long readers were better protected against Lewy bodies, amyloid burden, and tangles over the 6-year study. Reading into old age also reduced memory decline by more than 30 percent, compared to other forms of mental activity.