Engaging in cognitive activities, aging, and mild cognitive impairment: a population-based study

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011 Spring;23(2):149-54. doi: 10.1176/jnp.23.2.jnp149.


The authors investigated whether engaging in cognitive activities is associated with aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in a cross-sectional study derived from an ongoing population-based study of normal cognitive aging and MCI in Olmsted County, MN. A random sample of 1,321 study participants ages 70 to 89 (N=1,124 cognitively normal persons, and N=197 subjects with MCI) were interviewed about the frequency of cognitive activities carried out in late life (within 1 year of the date of interview). Computer activities; craft activities, such as knitting, quilting, etc.; playing games; and reading books were associated with decreased odds of having MCI. Social activities, such as traveling, were marginally significant. Even though the point-estimates for reading magazines, playing music, artistic activities, and group activities were associated with reduced odds of having MCI, none of these reached statistical significance. The equally high prevalence of reading newspapers in both groups yielded no significant between-group difference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prevalence