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New research suggests that being online could benefit the mental health of older people. Researchers from New York University found that regular Internet use could reduce the risk of dementia in over-50s. The study explained why there could be a link between being online and better mental health. It said: "Online engagement may help to develop and maintain cognitive reserve, which can in turn compensate for brain aging and reduce the risk of dementia.…Regularly using the Internet may be associated with cognitive longevity."
Researchers looked at data from a health and retirement study of 18,154 adults over the age of 50. The participants were dementia-free at the start of the 16-year research. Everyone was asked every two years about their mental wellbeing, and about how long they spent online. The researchers found that those who were online for two hours a day were half as likely to have signs of dementia than those who were never online. They also found that excessive Internet use (6 to 8 hours a day) may increase the risks of dementia.
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