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Learning Photography Boosts Memory in Seniors, Study Finds

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Good news, camera weenies — not only does photography make you attractive and rich, it helps your brain stay sharp as you age. That’s the conclusion of a new University of Texas study that evaluated a number of different types of activities to see how they affected cognitive skills — particularly memory — in the elderly.

The idea was that, instead of having to talk seniors into deliberate brain-training exercises, maybe ordinary activities could help if they required enough mental work. Subjects committed to doing at least 15 hours per week of various types of activities.

Test subjects who committed to less intellectually challenging tasks, such as social clubs and going to museums, got little brain benefit.

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But those who committed to photography — which included learning how to use a new camera and new software — showed marked improvements in memory and cognitive ability after three months. Quilting worked well, too.

“It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something — it is important to get out and do something unfamiliar and mentally challenging,” lead researcher Dr. Denise Park said in a statement. Fortunately, photography fits those criteria very well for most seniors.

The study did not address how trying to teach a senior to use a new camera and/or Photoshop Elements affects the teacher, but in our experience it might increase the risk of excessive alcohol consumption.

(via University Herald)


Image credit: Senior Photographer by Ktoine and Photographer and Patriotic Veteran Burl McDonald by mikebaird