Knitting preserves memory

BBC News: Knitting ‘can delay’ memory loss.

Engaging in a hobby like reading a book, making a patchwork quilt or even playing computer games can delay the onset of dementia, a US study suggests. Watching TV however does not count – and indeed spending significant periods of time in front of the box may speed up memory loss, researchers found. Nearly 200 people aged 70 to 89 with mild memory problems were compared with a group who had no impairment. The findings are to be presented to an American Academy of Neurology meeting.

The researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota asked the volunteers about their daily activities within the past year and how mentally active they had been between the age of 50 to 65. Those who had during middle age been busy reading, playing games or engaging in craft hobbies like patchworking or knitting were found to have a 40% reduced risk of memory impairment.

TV really does rot the brain! A complex piece of lace knitting can be a mental workout, but even a basic scarf requires some skill, there’s gauge calculations, pattern repeats, yarn requirements, and that weird way your fingers seem to do the work on their own without conscious intervention.