Games, crafts, other activities may safeguard aging brain

Even in your 70s and beyond, simple activities including web-surfing, playing bridge and socializing may help stave off mental decline.

That's the conclusion of a study released Monday.

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It didn't look at costly, computer-based games that purport to keep the brain sharp. Instead, it found a benefit from activities many seniors have access to: computer use; making crafts; playing games including chess or bridge; and going to movies or other types of socializing.

Those activities appeared to help prevent mild cognitive impairment. That condition involves problems with memory, thinking and attention that don't interfere much with daily life but which increase risks for developing Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.