Pitching in to do good deeds for your community appears to do some good for your brain, according to a study published in BMC Psychology.

The study involved over 9,000 adults who were assessed at the age of 33 and again at 50. Researchers found that participants who were active in local community groups gained a mental edge over those who were not active. The socially engaged participants—who were active in volunteer organizations, neighborhood associations, political or social action groups or religious groups—were found to have higher scores on tests of memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

This article originally appeared in Mind, Mood & Memory, a publication of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, dedicated to maintaining mental fitness for middle age and beyond.

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