October 21, 2023 at 12:54 am

Studies Show There Are Positive and Negative Effects When It Comes To Internet Use And Dementia

by Trisha Leigh

Source: iStock

It can sometimes seem like pretty much everything we do, eat, or drink can lead to dementia. Which really makes it seem as if they have no idea what actually causes it.

That said, this new study is actually positive – at least, it is if you spent a decent amount of time online.

The research was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and was inspired by a lack of research on the “long-term cognitive impact of internet usage among older adults.”

Source: iStock

Most focuses on negative potential aspects, but the researchers from NYU’s School of Global Public Health actually found the opposite.

They followed the outcomes of dementia-free adults between the ages of 50 and 65 for 17 years, a sample size of around 20,000 older American adults.

The participants who answered that they were regular users of the internet showed a 1.54% risk of developing dementia. Non-users in all of the same categories showed a 10.45% risk, which is a pretty big difference.

People in that age group who regularly used the internet ended up being about half as likely to develop dementia over the course of the study.

The study authors did say that people who used the internet too much had increased risk of developing dementia, so there must be a happy medium.

“Among older adults, regular internet users may experience a lower risk of dementia compared to non-regular users, and longer periods of regular internet usage in late adulthood may help reduce the risks of subsequent dementia incidence. Nonetheless, using the internet excessively daily may negatively affect the risk of dementia in older adults.”

Source: iStock

More research needs to be done in order to prove whether or not more complex correlations/causations might be at work.

“It may be that regular internet usage is associated with increased cognitive stimulation, and in turn reduced risk of dementia, or it may be that individuals with lower risk of dementia are more likely to engage in regular internet usage.”

In the meantime, you can feel better about your Boomer parents spending time online.

As long as you keep them away from Facebook, of course.