Living with others and community involvement is key to reducing dementia risk

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The study was published in The lancet tree has a healthy lifespan provides supporting evidence that living with others, participating in a community group and never feeling alone is associated with slower cognitive decline.

It is widely acknowledged that poor social connections such as small networks, infrequent interactions, and loneliness are modifiable risk factors for cognitive declinewith the 2020 Lancet Committee on dementia Prevention estimates that addressing social isolation could prevent 4% of dementia cases worldwide.

However, to date the study has not examined data outside of North America and Europe. The present study also incorporated variables that indicate good social relationships (such as living with other people and getting married) rather than considering each variable separately. This means we can’t say exactly what type or amount of social connections we need for healthy brain aging.

This study, led by the UNSW Sydney Center for Healthy Brain Aging (CHeBA), investigated a range of measures social connection to discover which had the strongest findings regarding a reduced risk of cognitive decline — and dementia.

Lead author Dr Suraj Samtani, Postdoctoral Fellow and social health specialist at CHeBA said: “We looked at a range of measures of social connectivity, in approximately 40,000 people over 13 international research. “Previous analyzes of many international studies have many limitations.

“Our goal was to investigate the association between different markers of social connectivity and the annual rate of cognitive change. We had longitudinal data from six continents, making this a segmentation. The most representative analysis done on social connections and cognitive decline to date We also examined each individual social connection variable to compare their effects on cognitive decline. awake. “

Co-author and co-director of CHeBA, Professor Henry Brodaty, argues that the findings have socioeconomic implications. “We found that sharing a home with one or more people[s] and weekly community group participation had the strongest results in the studies, showing that these factors are fundamental components of the association with less cognitive decline,” said Professor Brodaty. .” We also identified an association between never feeling lonely and a slower rate of cognitive decline. “

The researchers found no significant association between levels of social support, having a soulmate or satisfaction in a relationship, and cognitive decline.

Spokesperson for the initiative, Dr Richard Grellman AM, said: “Data from 13 international studies are accessible thanks to The Dementia Momentum. “Aging studies for this particular study originate in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia and are part of the Memory Cohort Study in an international consortium — or COSMIC.”

Professor Perminder Sachdev, head of the COSMIC consortium, said that “the collaboration of brain aging researchers from around the world to identify common social connectivity factors for dementia memory will have a significant impact on policy change for the future of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”

Future research will be important to replicate these findings, and importantly to determine whether interventions at the individual or social level can improve social connectivity and reduce loneliness.

Cumulative loneliness linked to faster memory aging in older adults

More information:
Suraj Samtani et al., The association between social connections and cognition: a meta-analysis of personal data participating in global collaboration, The lancet tree has a healthy lifespan (In 2022). DOI: 10.1016 / S2666-7568 (22) 00199-4

Quote: Living with others and community involvement is key to reducing dementia risk (2022, October 24) retrieved October 24, 2022 from news/2022-10-engagement-keys-dementia.html

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