“Artistic activity” helps to stave off cognitive decline in old age

Tom Jacobs, for Pacific Standard:

The behavior that had the greatest protective effect, at least in this relatively small study, was “artistic activity,” such as painting, drawing, and sculpting.

“Long ago, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was a common expression,” Dr. James Galvin writes in a comment accompanying the study, which is published in the journal Neurology. “Perhaps today, the expression should expand to include painting an apple, going to the store with a friend to buy an apple, and using an Apple product.”


Learning how to use a computer late in life had a highly positive impact—actually greater than for those who picked up the habit during their middle years. Perhaps seniors who discovered the joys of surfing the Web provided their brain with a new form of helpful stimulation.

So it’s not just about staying engaged and creative, but challenging the mind in novel ways. Noted.