Regular Internet Use in Late Adulthood May Protect Against Dementia

Regular use cut risk in half regardless of educational attainment, race'ethnicity, sex, and generation
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

FRIDAY, May 5, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Being a regular internet user for longer periods in late adulthood is associated with delayed cognitive impairment, according to a study published online May 3 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Gawon Cho, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues used data from 18,154 dementia-free adults (aged 50 to 64.9 years) participating in the Health and Retirement Study to examine the association between time to dementia and baseline internet usage.

The researchers found that regular internet use was associated with approximately half the risk for dementia versus nonregular usage (cause-specific hazard ratio [CHR], 0.57). When adjusting for self-selection into baseline usage (CHR, 0.54) and signs of cognitive decline at the baseline (CHR, 0.62), the association persisted. There were no differences seen in risk between regular and nonregular users by educational attainment, race/ethnicity, sex, or generation. Estimates for daily hours of usage suggested a U-shaped relationship with dementia incidence. The lowest risk was seen among adults with 0.1 to 2.0 hours of usage, though small sample sizes caused estimates to be nonsignificant.

"Being a regular internet user for longer periods in late adulthood was associated with delayed cognitive impairment, although further evidence is needed on potential adverse effects of excessive usage," the authors write.

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