Researchers led by Andre Junqueira Xavier at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina in Brazil found a link between digital literacy and a reduction in cognitive decline.

Drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the study followed 6,442 participants in the UK between the ages of 50 and 89 for 8 years.

The data measured delayed recall from a 10-word-list learning task across 5 separate measurement points. Higher wealth, education and digital literacy improved delayed recall, while people with functional impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depressive symptoms or no digital literacy showed decline.

The researchers found that "digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve or leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline."

The authors concluded that "countries where policy interventions regarding improvement in digital literacy are implemented may expect lower incidence rates for dementia over the coming decades."

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences.

 

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