Bridge May Help Super-Seniors Trump Dementia
Nursing home study suggests that social engagement maintains memory
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted May 22, 2009 10:10 AM CDT
Warren Buffett, foreground, and Bill Gates play bridge at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 6, 2007.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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(Newser) – An exclusive club of senior citizens—people who have passed 90 without suffering from dementia—is helping researchers delve into the secrets of aging and the keys to staving off mental decline. "The most successful agers on earth," who represent just one-half of 1% of the population, are "only just beginning to teach us what’s important," a neurologist. tells the New York Times. Their secret? Bridge.

The bridge players of Laguna Woods, Calif., are remarkably fierce, insisting that players in their retirement community keep up with what’s going on and drop into a lower-level game if they can’t compete. “Interacting with people regularly, even strangers, uses easily as much brain power as doing puzzles, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this is what it’s all about,” says one doctor.