It is estimated that nearly 10% of U.S. adults over the age of 65 have dementia.
big british man study This suggests that living with other people, or even pets, may slow the decline in cognitive abilities that often occurs with age.
Cognitive decline in older adults is a major public health problem, with nearly 10% of U.S. adults aged 65 and older having dementia and 32% having some degree of cognitive impairment. It has been. Previous research has shown that living alone and social isolation are associated with an increased risk of age-related cognitive decline.
“Research shows that having long-term, high-quality relationships, whether with family, friends, or romantic relationships, is not only important for well-being, but also promotes brain health and reduces the risk of dementia. “We know that it’s also important for human health,” Dr. Lee said. Kroll is an assistant professor of neurology at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine.
Owning a pet has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation when living alone, but until now there have been no studies that have directly compared the rate of cognitive decline between pet owners and non-pet owners.
The study, published in JAMA Neurology, found that having a pet was associated with slower cognitive decline among older adults who lived alone, but not among older adults who lived with others. . There was no difference in attrition rates between pet owners who lived with others and pet owners who lived alone.
Commenting on these findings, Kroll said pet ownership could be an “alternative option for people whose social circumstances prevent them from interacting frequently with other people.”
The authors used data from 7,945 adults aged 50 and over living in the UK to compare rates of cognitive decline in pet owners and non-pet owners over a nine-year period.
Each year, participants were asked to complete several tests. That is, he is to recite 10 unrelated words immediately after being given them and a little later, and he is to say the names of as many animals as possible in one minute. These tests are designed to measure verbal memory and verbal fluency, skills that are essential for completing daily tasks and remaining independent as you age.
As the U.S. population ages and the number of single-person households increases, dementia and cognitive decline in older adults may become an increasingly important public health issue.
This study suggests that even for people who cannot live with others, beloved pets may protect against the effects of loneliness and social isolation on age-related cognitive decline. ing.
It should be noted that this study only tested two areas of cognition, and further research is needed to provide a complete picture of how to slow age-related cognitive decline. Based on available research, Kroll now advises patients to “be active, eat a heart-healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet, and socialize with friends” to promote healthy aging and prevent cognitive decline. We encourage you to stay in touch.”
Dr. Joey K. Ng is an emergency medicine resident at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.