computer, keyboard
"Increased use of Internet and E-mail was associated with significant improvement in delayed recall over time intervals," researchers wrote.Anonymous Account/Flickr

Modern gadgets and technology can help prevent cognitive decline associated with old age, a new study from Brazil says.

Andre Junqueira Xavier and colleagues from the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina followed more than 6,400 people aged between 50 and 89 for eight years and found that digital literacy, mainly web browsing and exchanging emails improved their memory.

Researchers conducted a 10 word recall test to measure the memory skills of the participants. Factors including higher wealth, digital literacy and education enhanced delayed recall.

Participants who used the Internet and email exhibited three percent better recalling ability than the others. Cognitive decline was more prevalent among people affected with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression and non-users of the Internet.

"Increased use of Internet and E-mail was associated with significant improvement in delayed recall over time intervals," researchers wrote, while concluding their study.

"Digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve or leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline," according to the study findings, provided in a news release.

These findings are expected to help prevent dementia, a syndrome that leads to memory loss, difficulty in communicating, thinking, understanding, planning and the ability to perform daily routines.

"Countries where policy interventions regarding improvement in digital literacy (DL) are implemented may expect lower incidence rates for dementia over the coming decades," the authors wrote.

The study has been published in The Journals of Gerontology.

Cognitive decline, as defined by the CVS Pharmacy in the US is the "changes in cognitive function" including reduced "speed of information processing". Certain factors, including increased age, absence of mental and physical activity, addiction to alcohol, smoking, stress, and possession of the Alzheimer's gene APOE-e4 have been proven to increase the risk of cognitive decline.

High BP, diabetes, depression, vision, hearing impairment, and high cholesterol are some medical conditions linked to cognitive decline.

Researchers have identified three types of cognitive decline associated with ageing: mild memory impairment, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild memory loss and dementia.

Cognitive Decline- How to Prevent It: Some Research-Proven Facts

  • Try to remain physically and socially active
  • Keep brain active through puzzles, games, vocabulary building and reading books
  • Follow a low fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Treat sleep disorders and avoid sleeping during daytime
  • Consume fish oil supplements regularly

Apart from these, regular intake of tea and learning more languages also have been found to delay cognitive decline.