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Link Between Mental Stimulation and MCI Examined

JAMA Neurol; ePub 2017 Jan 30; Krell-Roesch, et al

Cognitively normal elderly individuals who engage in specific mentally stimulating activities, even in late life, have a decreased risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a recent study found. The associations, however, may vary by apolipoprotein E ε4 genotype (APOE ε4) carrier status. The cohort consisted of 1,929 cognitively normal persons (median age at baseline, 77 years; 50.4% [n=973] female) who were followed up to the outcome of incident MCI. Researchers found:

  • During a median follow-up period of 4 years, it was observed that playing games and engaging in craft activities, computer use, and social activities were associated with a decreased risk of incident MCI.
  • In a stratified analysis by APOE ε4 carrier status, the data point toward the lowest risk of incident MCI for APOE ɛ4 non-carriers who engage in mentally stimulating activities and toward the highest risk of incident MCI for APOE ɛ4 carriers who do not engage in mentally stimulating activities.


Krell-Roesch J, Vemuri P, Pink A, et al. Association between mentally stimulating activities in late life and the outcome of incident mild cognitive impairment, with an analysis of the APOE ε4 genotype. [Published online ahead of print January 30, 2017]. JAMA Neurol. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.3822.