Socialising for brain health

Researchers at the University of Queensland
have found that people who take part in group social activities experience reduced mental
decline and memory loss compared to those who don’t. The study was a population based
study, we were able to access data from England, drawing on the longitudinal study of ageing
and in this data collection we were able to access information about people’s social ties,
their relationships with groups of others and their ties with one other individual,
a family member or a friend. Where interested in whether those social ties impacted on their
cognitive or brain health. What the study showed was that engaging in social group activities
was more important for people’s cognitive health than engaging in one to one activities,
and this effect was even more pronounced the older you become. The study found that participants
with above average social group ties performed better mentally, with 50 year olds performing
like 46 year olds and 80 year olds performing more like 70 year olds. An important implication
of preserving people’s mental abilities is that it improves their quality of life and
it actually reduces the costs of care, so I think it’s a pretty pertinent investment,
a pretty important investment to encourage older people to stay active in social groups
and keep them for as long possible.

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