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HHS HealthBeat (January 1, 2014)

Working the old brain

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

It’s never too late to learn, and a study indicates older learners can benefit from new things. At the University of Texas at Dallas, Denise Park looked at data on 221 seniors, ages 60 to 90. Some learned a new skill – digital photography, quilting, or both. Others were in social groups. All spent 15 hours a week over three months in their activity. At the end, they got a memory test.

Park says the new-skill-learners shone:

“People in these groups performed better on memory tasks at the end of the three months, and improved more on their memory, than people who were in social groups.”

So Park advises seniors to learn something fun, different and mentally stimulating.

The study in the journal Psychological Science was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January 1, 2014