Creativity key to improved brain function: Study

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Creative outlets help to increase brain function, according to a new study.

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The Angus Reid study called Art and Brain, which was conducted for the Baycrest Foundation, concluded that positivity creativity helps with function on the brain, especially during a pandemic.

Creative outlets were shown to improve focus, manage stress and improve overall brain health.

The study also found people aged 18 to 34 suffered from pandemic lockdown isolation more than older people.

According to the study, 52% of people said their emotional health declined during the pandemic and 39% said they forgot things a lot more.

Seventy-two per cent felt a lack of community, 64% felt bored and 59% lacked mental stimulation.

These numbers are for all ages. When the study looked specifically at adults 34 and younger, the percentages were higher.

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“It is our continued mission to inspire Canadians to think about brain health at every age and take the necessary steps to sustain a healthy brain,” says Dr. Howard Chertkow, director, Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness.,

“Young people must be aware that dementia is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Engaging in artistic and creative outlets is a proven and instrumental way to lessen the risk of cognitive decline.”

The study also questioned attitudes on people’s willingness to support the quality of life of older people and more than half support creative outlets would encourage brain activities such as crossword puzzles.

“Overall, many findings give cause for optimism. Younger adults (18-34) were much more likely than older age groups to embrace artistic/creative outlets during the pandemic as a means to sharpen their focus, manage life’s stresses, improve quality of life and promote overall brain health,” said Josh Cooper, president of the Baycrest Foundation.

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“In order to change the future of brain health, Baycrest encourages all ages to get a head start on brain health. Despite popular belief, dementia is not a natural or inevitable consequence of aging and there are many ways to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.”

Between June 30 to July 3, the  online survey was done with 1,510 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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