Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Busy schedules linked to better memory and cognition among middle-aged and older adults



Being Super Busy May* Be Good For Your Brain (Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine):

There has­n’t been much sci­en­tif­ic research on busy­ness itself, although it’s some­thing that we talk about so often,” explains Sara Fes­ti­ni, a cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tist at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Dal­las Cen­ter for Vital Longevi­ty, a co-author of the new research pub­lished this week in Fron­tiers in Aging Neu­ro­science. “So we want­ed to look at the rela­tion­ship of a gen­er­al­ly very busy lifestyle to cog­ni­tion.”

Fes­ti­ni and col­leagues found that mid­dle-aged and old­er Amer­i­cans who keep them­selves busy test bet­ter across a whole range of dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive func­tions like brain pro­cess­ing speeds, rea­son­ing and vocab­u­lary.  The mem­o­ry of spe­cif­ic events from the past, or episod­ic mem­o­ry, is espe­cial­ly enhanced among busy peo­ple, they report…

But the strong cor­re­la­tion shown between busy­ness and brain func­tion also rais­es an intrigu­ing chick­en-and-egg ques­tion: Does busy­ness boost the brain, or might peo­ple with bet­ter cog­ni­tive pow­ers be more like­ly to keep them­selves busy?

StudyThe Busier the Bet­ter: Greater Busy­ness Is Asso­ci­at­ed with Bet­ter Cog­ni­tion (Fron­tiers in Aging Neu­ro­science)

  • Abstract: Sus­tained engage­ment in men­tal­ly chal­leng­ing activ­i­ties has been shown to improve mem­o­ry in old­er adults. We hypoth­e­sized that a busy sched­ule would be a proxy for an engaged lifestyle and would facil­i­tate cog­ni­tion. Here, we exam­ined the rela­tion­ship between busy­ness and cog­ni­tion in adults aged 50–89. Par­tic­i­pants (N = 330) from the Dal­las Lifes­pan Brain Study (DLBS) com­plet­ed a cog­ni­tive bat­tery and the Mar­tin and Park Envi­ron­men­tal Demands Ques­tion­naire (MPED), an assess­ment of busy­ness. Results revealed that greater busy­ness was asso­ci­at­ed with bet­ter pro­cess­ing speed, work­ing mem­o­ry, episod­ic mem­o­ry, rea­son­ing, and crys­tal­lized knowl­edge. Hier­ar­chi­cal regres­sions also showed that, after con­trol­ling for age and edu­ca­tion, busy­ness account­ed for sig­nif­i­cant addi­tion­al vari­ance in all cog­ni­tive constructs—especially episod­ic mem­o­ry. Final­ly, an inter­ac­tion between age and busy­ness was not present while pre­dict­ing cog­ni­tive per­for­mance, sug­gest­ing that busy­ness was sim­i­lar­ly ben­e­fi­cial in adults aged 50–89. Although cor­re­la­tion­al, these data demon­strate that liv­ing a busy lifestyle is asso­ci­at­ed with bet­ter cog­ni­tion.

To learn more:

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Search in our archives

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Follow us and Engage via…

RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)