Did you know that reading is one of the best exercises for your memory? It’s true! Not only does it keep your mind active and engaged, but it also helps improve brain function among older adults. In fact, a recent study found that adults who read regularly scored better on memory tests than those who didn’t read as often. So, reading is a great option if you’re looking for ways to stay sharp in old age!
The new study published in Frontiers in Psychology set out to solve the mystery surrounding the relationship between reading and memory skills. It has long been questioned whether reading can help improve memory or if it is the strong working memory that improves reading comprehension skills.
Researchers for the study reached out to the experts at the Champaign Public Library’s Adult Literacy Services to get a list of interesting and engaging books. The team distributed these books to older adults in the local community via iPads. The iPads were also preloaded with a custom app that allowed participants to track their reading progress and allowed them to answer questionnaires.
All participants were required to read for 90 minutes a day, five days a week, for eight weeks. A control group was also given iPads but was required to complete word puzzles instead of reading.
After adjusting for different cognitive skills, including working and episodic memory, as well as other verbal and reading skills, the study was concluded. Researchers found that compared to the puzzle group, those who read books for eight weeks showed significant improvements in working and episodic memory.
Researchers hope the results of this study showing a causal linkage between reading and memory will help to open new options for treatments such as Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health problems.
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