Brain training – playing online games that give memory and reasoning skills a workout – is beneficial for older people, a large-scale study has concluded.
Researchers at King’s College London found the mental exercises kept minds sharp and helped people with everyday skills such as shopping and cooking.
Nearly 7,000 people aged 50 and over signed up for the six-month experiment, launched by BBC TV’s Bang Goes The Theory.
Longer studies are now beginning.
There is strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and the risk of dementia, and improve wellbeing throughout life, new research carried out for The Reading Agency has found.
The report, entitled ‘The impact of reading for pleasure and empowerment’, surveys research into the effects of reading for pleasure on people of a range of age groups and requirements. Among the benefits it finds are improved social capital for children, young people and the general adult population; better parent-child communication and reduction of depression and dementia symptoms among adults.
Another key finding of the report is that enjoyment of reading is a prerequisite for all these positive outcomes: people who choose to read, and enjoy doing so, in their spare time are more likely to reap all of these benefits.
The Reading Agency – Literature Review: the impact of reading for pleasure and empowerment