The study was also controlled for factors such as education, sex, activity levels, health issues and early life cognitive function. The results found that more board game-playing led to increased cognitive functioning at age 70, controlling for cognitive ability at age 11.
Researchers found an association between playing more games between ages 70 and 79 meant less general cognitive decline in that range, specifically with memory ability. The study also found an association with increased game play and slow decline of cognitive speed when playing between ages 70 and 76.
"These latest findings add to evidence that being more engaged in activities during the life course might be associated with better thinking skills in later life," said Altschul, according to Medical News Today. "For those in their 70s or beyond, another message seems to be that playing non-digital games may be a positive behavior in terms of reducing cognitive decline."
Deary echoed his co-author’s assessment, but noted more research needs to be done with specific analog game play.
"It would be good to find out if some of these games are more potent than others,” he said. “We also point out that several other things are related to better cognitive aging, such as being physically fit and not smoking."