As per the researchers of NYU, it has been found that regular internet usage by older adults can decrease the risk of dementia. Along with evidence excessive use, this can be harmful to cognitive health.
As per the studies older people’s online engagement can help in decreasing the cognitive decline with short-term effects. The long-term effects of internet usage on cognitive functioning have more dementia risk.
In normal brain aging, fluid abilities like problem-solving, mental speed and spatial manipulation peak in the age of 20s and decline gradually until the age of 60. Whereas on the other hand, ‘crystallized’ abilities such as accumulated knowledge and expertise relies on long-term memory that generally increases through work, cultural and life experiences, and education.
Cognitive decline in aged people faces difficulties with thinking, memory and concentration. Dementia is usually diagnosed when cognitive decline, the stage when the condition of the patient becomes severe enough to interfere with social and/or occupational functioning.
The researchers followed 18,154 adults who does not have the problem of dementia and are aged between 50 and 65. Participants’ cognitive functioning was tested during a twice-yearly interview where they were asked how often they used the internet.
Later, this data has been used to examine the association between internet usage and the time it took for regular and non-regular users in the development of dementia. They also had a look at the degree of daily internet usage and its effect on cognition.
The overall incidence rate of disease like dementia during the study was found to be around 4.7%. The regular usage of the internet was associated with half risk of dementia as compared with non-regular use and was not significantly influenced by educational level, race, ethnicity, or sex.
Users who make use of internet for around six minutes and two hours a day, they are considered as having lowest risk of dementia. Whereas, those who are using the things for more than this are inspected with the highest estimated risk.
The researchers mentioned that the study demonstrates the existence of a “digital divide” in cognitive health.
Some of the research on digital are divided in cognitive health that has been limited to cross-sectional or longitudinal examinations with short follow-ups. The researchers are trying their best to fill this gap by characterizing the relationship between the risk of dementia and baseline internet usage.
It’s relevant to make the note of the fact that the correlation between internet usage and cognitive health does not equate to causation.
It has been understood that an online engagement on an individual may include a wide range of activities such as checking the news, sending emails, and online shopping.