The ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis of cognitive aging predicts that engagement in intellectual, social, and physical activities offers protective benefits from age-related cognitive decline and lowers dementia risk. Although this hypothesis has not yet been supported conclusively, there is some empirical evidence in favor of the proposal. However, a number of questions surrounding the relationship between activity participation and cognitive ability in older adulthood are not yet well answered. This mini-review identifies seven key methodological and theoretical issues that are critical to our understanding and eventual possible promotion of activity participation as a way to maintain cognitive well-being. These include the mechanisms involved, the optimal ways of assessing activity engagement, which cognitive domains receive the most benefit from activity engagement, the temporal nature and the directionality of the relationship, the influence of demographic variables such as age, gender, or education, and whether one activity domain offers the most benefit to cognition. The current knowledge on each of these issues is critically evaluated, including describing what we already know about the issue, and identifying potential difficulties and opportunities that may exist in finding an answer. More studies need to take on the challenge of specifically targeting these issues, as each is essential to moving the field forward.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.