To determine if older men who use computers have lower risk of developing dementia.
Cohort study of 5506 community-dwelling men aged 69 to 87 years followed for up to 8.5 years. Use of computers measured as daily, weekly, less than weekly and never. Participants also reported their use of email, internet, word processors, games or other computer activities. The primary outcome was the incidence of ICD-10 diagnosis of dementia as recorded by the Western Australian Data Linkage System.
1857/5506 (33.7%) men reported using computers and 347 (6.3%) received a diagnosis of dementia during an average follow up of 6.0 years (range: 6 months to 8.5 years). The hazard ratio (HR) of dementia was lower among computer users than non-users (HR = 0.62, 95%CI = 0.47–0.81, after adjustment for age, educational attainment, size of social network, and presence of depression or of significant clinical morbidity). The HR of dementia appeared to decrease with increasing frequency of computer use: 0.68 (95%CI = 0.41–1.13), 0.61 (95%CI = 0.39–0.94) and 0.59 (95%CI = 0.40–0.87) for less than weekly, at least weekly and daily. The HR of dementia was 0.66 (95%CI = 0.50–0.86) after the analysis was further adjusted for baseline cognitive function, as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination.
Older men who use computers have lower risk of receiving a diagnosis of dementia up to 8.5 years later. Randomised trials are required to determine if the observed associations are causal.
Citation: Almeida OP, Yeap BB, Alfonso H, Hankey GJ, Flicker L, et al. (2012) Older Men Who Use Computers Have Lower Risk of Dementia. PLoS ONE 7(8): e44239. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044239
Editor: Jerson Laks, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Received: June 3, 2012; Accepted: July 30, 2012; Published: August 28, 2012
Copyright: © 2012 Almeida et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: Funding provided by National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia project grant numbers 279408, 379600, 403963 and 513823. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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