“It’s the one task where you really use your whole mind, as opposed to concentrating on an addition task or a small task that you’re working on,” he said.
Dr Leyden said studies had showed that creative pursuits protect people against dementia, improved the rehabilitation of stroke victims and soothed the symptoms of people with Parkinson’s disease.
For example, research by the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, published last year, found that people engaged in artistic pursuits were 70 per cent less likely to develop dementia.
Stroke patients in another study improved both physically and emotionally after a combination of physical and creative therapy, including music and art.
“I think we’re at a turning point where people are starting to realise that creativity is really about neuroplasticity and this might actually be helpful in preventing and healing disease,” he said.