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Creativity, leisure activities, social engagement and cognitive impairment: the AGES-Reykjavík study

Abstract

Background

Participation in leisure activities and extensive social network have been associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment (CI) and dementia.

Aims

We examined whether leisure activities (cognitive solitary, cognitive group, social, physical, or creative activities) and social involvement are associated with less incidence of CI or dementia.

Methods

Analyses were performed from data of 2933 cognitively intact individuals at baseline included in the AGES-REYKJAVIK study. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated for incident CI and dementia in relation to cognitive individual, cognitive group, social, physical, and creative leisure activities as well as social networks. Models were adjusted for a number of known risk factors for cognitive decline.

Results

In 5 years, 12% of the cohort were diagnosed with CI or dementia. All leisure activities were associated with reduced likelihood of cognitive decline in the raw model, but in adjusted models, cognitive solitary [OR 0.49 (Confidence Interval (CI) 0.38–0.64)], cognitive group [OR 0.50 (CI 0.30–0.82)], and creative activities [OR 0.53 (CI 0.35–0.83)] were significantly associated with less cognitive decline. Analyses examining creative leisure activities independently, controlling for all other activities, suggested individuals participating in creative activities exhibited less CI [OR 0.64 (CI 0.41–0.98)]. Among social networks variables, frequency of meeting with friends and relatives was associated with reduced likelihood of CI [OR 0.49 (CI 0.31–0.75)].

Discussion

Cognitive and creative leisure activities and frequent gatherings with friends and relatives are associated with reduced incidence of CI in this older cohort.

Conclusion

Creative leisure activities might have special benefit for cognitive ability.

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Acknowledgements

The Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study was supported by NIH contracts N01-AG-1-2100 and HHSN27120120022C, the NIA Intramural Research Program, Hjartavernd (the Icelandic Heart Association), and the Althingi (the Icelandic Parliament).

Funding

The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.

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Correspondence to Helga Hansdottir.

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This study has been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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All persons gave their informed consent prior to entering the study.

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Hansdottir, H., Jonsdottir, M.K., Fisher, D.E. et al. Creativity, leisure activities, social engagement and cognitive impairment: the AGES-Reykjavík study. Aging Clin Exp Res 34, 1027–1035 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-021-02036-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-021-02036-1

Keywords

  • Elderly
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dementia
  • Leisure activities
  • Social relations
  • Creativity