(Photo by John Merkle)

Playing games, making crafts, using a computer and engaging in social activities can help older adults decrease the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, according to an article published online Monday by JAMA Neurology.

In their study, Yonas E. Geda, M.D., M.Sc., of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, and coauthors included 1,929 adults aged at least 70 years who had participated in research on aging in Minnesota. The participants were followed for a median of four years, at which point 456 of them had developed mild cognitive impairment.

The investigators found that engaging in some brain-stimulating activities was associated with a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, which is the intermediate zone between normal cognitive aging and dementia.

“Future research is needed to understand the mechanisms linking mentally stimulating activities and cognition in late life,” the researchers concluded.