London, Aug 13: Before you cite age as an excuse not to learn how to send an e-mail or search a recipe, take note that learning to browse the web may help you arrest memory decline. Digital literacy, or the ability to engage, plan and execute digital actions such as web browsing and exchanging emails, can improve memory, says a study.
“Digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve or leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline,” the researchers said. Drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the study followed 6,442 participants in Britain between the ages of 50 and 89 for eight years.
The data measures delayed recall from a 10-word-list learning task across five separate measurement points. Higher wealth, education and digital literacy improved delayed recall, while people with functional impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depressive symptoms or no digital literacy showed decline. “Countries where policy interventions regarding improvement in DL (digital literacy) are implemented may expect lower incidence rates for dementia over the coming decades,” the authors of the study wrote. The study appeared in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences.