Once more with feeling: reading the paper is good for your brain

Jul 27, 2022 at 11:07 pm by admin

Another report confirms what we all want to hear: That reading a newspaper can help boost thinking speed reserves.

According to UK heavyweight The Times, the new research – by the University of California and published in the journal Neurology – suggests the benefit might be to give you the thinking skills of someone 13 years younger.

Researchers looked to establish whether physical and mental activities could help “cognitive reserves”, which enable better-than-average thinking abilities.

Participants were asked whether in the past 13 months they had done three things: read magazines, newspapers or books; gone to classes; and played cards, games or bingo. Overall, for each extra category of mental activity, researchers calculated people’s thinking speed improved by the equivalent of 13 fewer years of aging. When they divided their results by sex, the improvement was 17 years for men and ten years for women, The Times’ Kat Lay reported.

In the absence of any treatments for Alzheimer’s, Judy Pa who wrote the study, said it was “exciting” that everyday activities appeared to boost cognitive reserves.

The “observational” study involved 758 people whose average age was 76 – some with no thinking or memory problems, and others with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Higher levels of physical activity were also linked to greater reserves of thinking speed in women, although this was not the case in men.

It's not the first time The Times has published similar findings: On April 1, 2020 the newspaper ran a report – now behind its paywall – headlined ‘How reading The Times can help keep dementia at bay’. We’re hoping the date is not significant.

Pictured: News Corp stablemate The Australian ran the story with this picture of a reader of its print edition

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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